Swine flu successfully contained - dept

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pretoria - While the Department of Health continues to monitor the H1N1 Influenza following the first confirmed case of the virus in South Africa, it is confident that they have successfully contained the virus.

"We have gone beyond the incubation period, which is seven days; if there was anyone infected, they should have been presented by now," Department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe told BuaNews on Wednesday.

Last week, the department confirmed a diagnosis of the first case of H1N1, identified as swine flu, in South Africa.

A 12-year-old boy from the United States, who had flown into South Africa on 14 June to visit his father, was admitted after presenting flu-like symptoms.

The boy has been reported to be almost completely recovered, the department said, adding that tests done on his father to check whether he had contacted the virus also came back negative.

Mr Hadebe noted that at the moment it was difficult to locate the nine passengers, who were seated on the plane next to the boy, since it was not known where they were travelling to.

In terms of operations at the country's major Airport (OR Tambo International) two rooms have been designated for Port Health Services, with one being used as a clinic and the other for isolation purposes. The clinic caters for both arrivals and departures.

There are also four registered nurses and one supporting doctor stationed at the airport.

Last week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the healthcare officials will ensure that people who are suspected of having swine flu or have similar symptoms are identified as soon as they arrive in the country.

"We have a preparedness plan in place and remain confident that we will continue to respond positively to any further cases that maybe confirmed," Minister Motsoaledi said.

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