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Influenza A H1N1


What is Influenza

Influenza, commonly shortened to "flu," is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring. The flu virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract.

What's the difference between a cold and flu?

The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract. Although the symptoms can be similar, flu is much worse. A cold may drag you down a bit, but the flu can make you shudder at the very thought of getting out of bed.

Congestion, sore throat, and sneezing are common with colds. Both cold and flu bring coughing, headache, and chest discomfort. With the flu, though, you are likely to run a high fever for several days and have headache, myalgia, fatigue, and weakness. Usually, complications from colds are relatively minor, but a severe case of flu can lead to a life-threatening illness such as pneumonia.

If You Feel Unwell and Think You Have Influenza A H1N1:

  • Stay at home or in your hotel room, except to seek medical care. Do not go to work or school, stay away from crowds.
  • Avoid close contact with others for seven (7) days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom free for twenty-four (24) hours, whichever is longer.
  • Immediately seek the advice of your hotel doctor or other health care provider and/or call the Ministry of Health Hotline at 436-2444 or 436-2437.


Clinical Surveillance (Figure1)
The Ministry of Health reports that there were 479 reported cases of influenza up to 12th March 2011 (First 10 weeks of the year).  These cases were reported from 11 public sector sentinel sites.
Of this number, 239 were recorded in the first five weeks of 2011 and 240 were recorded in the next five weeks.  

For the same period in 2010, up to 13th March, 223 cases were reported from 10 public sector sites.  However almost twice as many cases in 2010, or 143 were recorded in the latter five weeks of the reporting period compared to the first five weeks when only 80 cases were recorded. 

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Tips for Flu Prevention

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of the germs.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • 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. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu–like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.