Belmopan. September 25, 2009. Belize is now in the second wave of the Influenza A H1N1 virus. To date, Belize has 36 laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1.
There has been an increase of patients going to outpatient clinics with influenza-like illnesses, above the number expected for this time of year. Monitoring of patients accessing outpatient and emergency services continues. The virus that is in circulation in country is compatible with the Influenza A H1N1 with a high level of susceptibility to Tamiflu, the anti-viral drug used to treat the virus.
At this time, school-aged children and young adults in the Belize, Cayo and Corozal Districts are mostly affected by this virus. Most of the cases that are being seen in outpatient clinical settings are mild to moderate forms of the illness.
Prevention, of course, is of vital importance. Please be reminded that these basic steps can protect your health:
• wash your hands (with soap and water/ hand sanitizers especially after you cough or sneeze),
• cover your cough (with disposable tissues and disposing of tissues in waste bins/ using sleeves when tissues are not available),
• avoid touching your eyes and mouth,
• stay home when you're sick and,
• avoid contact with sick persons.
Stay at home for at least 7 days after symptoms begin or until you have been symptom- free for 24 hours.
Influenza viruses can cause severe respiratory illness, therefore, the Ministry of Health informs the general public to visit the nearest health care provider immediately if any of the following symptoms are experienced:
• difficulty breathing or chest pain
• purple or blue discoloration of the lips
• vomiting and inability to keep liquids down
• signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry
• seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)
• less responsive than normal or, signs of confusion
The Director of Health Services would also like to inform the general public that self-medicating is NOT recommended, especially for children under the age of 4 years. If over the counter medications are to be used, labels should be checked to ensure it does not contain aspirin.
Use of ASPIRIN is also NOT recommended.
There is no vaccine for the Influenza A H1N1 virus in Belize. TAMIFLU is available in country and it is a PRESCRIPTION DRUG that should be used only as recommended by your attending physician and it is FREE OF COST. (ends)