Govt confirms third swine flu death

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Health has confirmed the third H1N1 Influenza virus, or swine flu, death in South Africa.

In a statement on Wednesday, the department said that the latest case of a 42-year-old male from the Western Cape had been confirmed by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NCID) following laboratory testing.

"Based on the NCID, which is the only World Health Organisation (WHO) reference laboratory in the country, the official death toll of H1N1 Influenza (in South Africa) stands at three," read the statement.

The man fell ill on 31 July and was admitted to hospital on 4 August with pneumonia.

The department also confirmed that the number of swine flu cases in South Africa are nearing the 2 000 mark, with 1 910 confirmed cases. This includes that of a 12-year-old boy confirmed in June this year.

The majority of these cases are spread between Gauteng and Western Cape provinces with the Northern Cape being the least affected, said the department. 

Describing it a pandemic, the department has reiterated its call for the public to practice basic hygiene, such as coughing in ones hand, sneezing into a tissue and disposing of it and the regular washing of hands.

"The department would still like to appeal to members of the public not to panic as it feels that the measures that it has in place to deal with the pandemic are adequate."

It said that efforts around the world to contain the spread of the flu, via closing down schools and businesses, have not proven to be a success, and the department has focused on mitigating the impact on communities.