Suspected Swine Flu case in Tobago

(T&T Guradian)

Suspected Swine Flu case in Tobago

A pa­tient, sus­pect­ed of be­ing in­fect­ed with the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu), has been ward­ed at the Scar­bor­ough Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal.

Guardian Me­dia was in­formed that the pa­tient went to the hos­pi­tal over the week­end, with symp­toms of the virus.

This was con­firmed by Health Sec­re­tary Agatha Car­ring­ton.

“The re­port that we got from of­fi­cials in­di­cate that there was one pa­tient with the virus,” she told Guardian Me­dia.

She said she can­not con­firm whether the pa­tient has the virus, un­til the pa­tient’s re­sults re­turn from the lab­o­ra­to­ry.

“We do not con­firm the cas­es, we will send all our sam­ples to the pub­lic health lab­o­ra­to­ry and they will say what it is,” she said.

Asked if To­ba­go’s health care sys­tem is ready to deal with pa­tients suf­fer­ing from the virus, she said: “H1N1 is not a new dis­ease and we are equipped.”

Over the week­end, so­cial me­dia was abuzz with in­for­ma­tion that the hos­pi­tal was put in emer­gency mode as its In­ter­nal Med­i­cine de­part­ment was short-staffed.

This af­ter a let­ter from the Med­ical Chief of Staff Dr Ru­furo Ce­les­tine sur­faced in­struct­ing staff to change how the hos­pi­tal nor­mal­ly op­er­ates.

“We can no longer pro­vide spe­cial­ist med­ical care to our adult pa­tients,” the let­ter said.

How­ev­er, Sec­re­tary Car­ring­ton said this was not the case.

She said “ser­vices at the hos­pi­tal are not be­ing com­pro­mised” as oth­er doc­tors were called out to work on the ward.

The Min­istry of Health has pro­vid­ed guide­lines to pre­vent con­tract­ing the Swine Flu:

· Wash your hands of­ten with soap and wa­ter. If soap and wa­ter are not avail­able, use an al­co­hol-based hand rub.

· Avoid touch­ing your eyes, nose and mouth.

· Clean and dis­in­fect sur­faces and ob­jects that may be con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed with germs. Where pos­si­ble, avoid close con­tact with sick peo­ple.

· While sick, lim­it con­tact with oth­ers as much as pos­si­ble to keep from in­fect­ing them.

· Cov­er your nose and mouth with a tis­sue when you cough or sneeze. Af­ter us­ing a tis­sue, throw it in the bin and wash your hands.

The Min­istry is al­so ad­vis­ing chil­dren be­tween 6 months to 5 years, preg­nant women and adults over 65 and peo­ple with chron­ic ill­ness­es such as di­a­betes and asth­ma, to take ex­tra pre­cau­tions to pre­vent con­tract­ing the virus.

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