Port Elizabeth - The H1N1 Influenza, or swine flu, has claimed the life of another pregnant woman, taking the number of deaths related to the pandemic to eight.
The 37-year-old woman from the Eastern Cape was 32 weeks pregnant and in her third trimester, when she died last Friday in the provincial hospital, after contracting the virus.
Provincial health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo told BuaNews on Friday the woman was admitted at Dora Nginza on 14 August, with a headache and nausea.
"She was diagnosed with other complications and died within hours of her admission. The case of H1N1 was confirmed by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)," Mr Kupelo said.
The Eastern Cape has confirmed 194 mild cases of H1N1 out of the 3 485 cases confirmed countrywide by the NICD.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that pregnant women are at heightened risk if diagnosed with swine flu and has recommended that when pandemic vaccines become available, health authorities should consider making pregnant women a priority group for immunization.
In addition to the enhanced risk documented in pregnant women, the WHO said groups at increased risk of severe or fatal illness include people with underlying medical conditions, most notably chronic lung disease including asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and immuno suppression.
Some preliminary studies suggest that obesity and especially extreme obesity may be a risk factor for more severe disease.
As part of government's communication efforts on the pandemic, the department has established a hotline and dedicated email address, where the public can request more information or ask specific questions related to the H1N1 Influenza.
The hotline number is 0861 DOH CDC or 0861 364-232. The email address is H1N1@health.gov.za.
The department has urged members of the public to take advantage of these communication platforms to deal with the pandemic.