Sixth swine flu death recorded in T&T

By Rachael Espinet
A sixth swine flu related death has been recorded today.

A press release from the Ministry of Health has indicated that 61-year-old Jewan Maharaj, spent 18 days in the Intensive Care Unit of the Sangre Grande District Health Facility. He died due to complications which arose from a combination of hypertension and H1N1 Influenza.

To date, there have been 67 recorded cases of swine flu in the country.

While officials from the Ministry of Health expressed condolences towards Maharaj’s death, they also noted that people, especially those in the at-risk group need to take precautions.

“Influenza can cause severe illness in some people, including the elderly, infants, young children and pregnant women as well as those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart, lung, kidney disease, hypertension and diabetes. Front line health workers are also especially at risk for contracting the
flu virus,” the release stated.

Influenza can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and droplets containing viruses get into the air and are inhaled by those nearby. People can also become infected by touching surfaces like doorknobs, desks and other areas contaminated with flu viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose.

The Ministry of Health advises that to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like influenza, the public is urged to:

1. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Doing so into the crook of your elbow is also acceptable;

2. Wash hands with soap and water regularly;

3. Avoid close contact with people who have flu like symptoms;

4. If you have symptoms of the flu, seek immediate medical attention if you have difficulty breathing, chest tightness, the inability to eat or drink, persistent vomiting or confusion.

Safe and effective vaccines that can prevent influenza or reduce the severity of illness are available at local health centres and citizens seeking these are asked to contact their local health centre or Regional Health Authority to set an appointment.

Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of serious complications of influenza and for people who live with or care for high risk individuals. After vaccination, people still ought to take preventative measures to reduce the spread of viruses.(Trinidad Guardian)

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