Results of reported second H1N1 case not conclusive

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Based on the report from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) the recent death of a 44 year-old deceased from KwaZulu-Natal cannot be conclusively attributed to the H1N1 Influenza. 

The deceased, with a travel history to Swaziland presented with bronchitis and was hospitalised by a specialist physician in a KZN health facility and was put on treatment. The patient later developed respiratory distress and sadly passed away last Thursday. 

The tests were done in a private laboratory and the specimen sent to the NICD to conduct further tests to confirm the cause of death. The NICD is the only reference (accredited) laboratory in the country that can confirm all H1N1 cases including deaths as part of managing the pandemic. 

Due to the insufficient specimen, the cause of death in this regard cannot conclusively be attributed to H1N1. So far, only one death in South Africa - that of a university student in the Western Cape - is known to be directly linked to the H1N1 based on the laboratory confirmation by the NICD.

The Department of Health appeals to members of the public not to panic and instead work with it in managing the pandemic. Members of the public are advised to practice basic hygiene which includes cough and sneeze hygiene and regular washing of hands. 

When people develop flu-like symptoms including severe symptoms like difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting such people should immediately seek medical care. 

Issued by the Department of Health

For more information please contact Fidel Hadebe on 012 312-0663 or 079 517-3333.