Swine flu cases increase to seven

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Health has confirmed three more cases of the H1N1 Virus, or Swine Flu, in the country, bringing the total number of cases to seven.

Department spokesperson, Fidel Hadebe, said three new cases had been confirmed at the weekend and all the patients had recently travelled abroad.

On Friday afternoon, the department confirmed the diagnosis of the third and fourth cases.

The third patient, travelled from London and presented with flu-like symptoms on 24 June, while the diagnosis was confirmed on 26 June.

The fourth case, the first on the outskirts of Gauteng, flew to South Africa from the United States on 20 June.

"She presented to a general practitioner on 24 June with flu symptoms and was confirmed positive the evening of 26 June," the department said on Friday, adding that all the tests were conducted by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

However, all seven cases are mild and the patients were recovering well and at home in accordance with the World Health Organisation and departmental guidelines.

South Africa's first case was detected in a 12-year-old boy who arrived from the US on 14 June.

The department appealed to members of the public not to panic.

"The fact that cases are detected and results made available within a short space of time is indicative of the country's preparedness and ability to respond to the H1N1 pandemic," the department said.

The department has put various measures in place to ensure the virus is not spread, including setting up Operational Outbreak Response Teams in all provinces, maintaining a high level of vigilance and preparedness and setting up a temporary clinic to check for possible cases on both arrival and departure flights at OR Tambo Airport.

Swine Flu first broke out in Mexico two months ago and has since spread to other countries.

The World Health Organisation has since raised its swine flu alert to the highest level, declaring its first global influenza pandemic in 40 years.

Signs of H1N1 flu include fever, coughing, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.

To prevent spread, people who are ill should cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, stay home when they are unwell, clean their hands regularly, and keep some distance from healthy people, as much as possible.