North West puts swine flu measures in place

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

North West - The North West Department of Health has issued a statement saying it has put measures in place to ensure that the swine flu outbreak does not affect the province.

The Department's Communicable Disease Directorate has already coordinated provincial outbreak response teams. They have been put on high alert.

The outbreak response teams have been trained on the basic knowledge of symptoms and treatment of influenza A H1N1.

Further to this the department has ensured there is adequate stock of Tamiflu, which is used to treat swine flu. "The public is, however, made aware of the fact that Tamiflu is only meant for confirmed cases and are therefore not for any common flu," said the department.

Information on how to handle swine flu has also been disseminated to all health facilities and outbreak response teams have been dispatched to all sub districts in the province.

"The province's border control was also given guidelines to prevent the spread of the epidemic in the province and is closely working with the department's Communicable diseases unit," the department said.

The diagnosis systems have also been put in place in all provincial laboratories to confirm cases of influenza A H1N1.

The department said suspect cases would be nursed in isolation in regional and district hospitals.

The provincial department has urged communities not to get any close to people who are suspected to have contracted the flu.

"The department has also started with radio talk shows, which will extend to community radio stations in the province," the department said.

Meanwhile, the national Department of Agriculture has assured that there have been no cases of swine flu in pigs in South Africa or the region emphasising that there is no risk to catch swine flu from eating pork.

The national Health Department will on Thursday hold a media briefing workshop as part of its efforts to share its preparedness plans covering all the detail of the plan and provide the media with the latest information on swine flu.

"The aim is to provide insight into the plan and provide the media with a platform to engage with senior officials in the department and other members of the Outbreak Response Team on its details," Department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said.

The symptoms of swine influenza are fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea and vomiting/diarrhea.

Anyone with these symptoms, especially with recent history of travel to affected countries that have confirmed influenza A H1N1 should consult their nearest health facility.

There have been no confirmed cases of swine flu in South Africa. The laboratory results on the one suspected case of swine flu from the Western Cape Province came back negative.

Susan Kok, 58, had flu-like symptoms when she returned from a month-long holiday in Mexico with her husband. She has been waiting for laboratory tests to determine whether she was infected or not.

A total of 21 countries have officially reported 1 085 lab-confirmed human infection cases of the A/H1N1 flu virus to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The largest numbers of cases were still reported from North American countries, notably Mexico and the United States, with 590 and 286 cases, respectively. Those cases include 26 deaths, 25 of which were from Mexico.