My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: 29 infected 3 dead from H1N1 in Trinidad - How the Influenza A (H1N1) virus can come to Jamaica

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

29 infected 3 dead from H1N1 in Trinidad - How the Influenza A (H1N1) virus can come to Jamaica

“People won’t always know they have it. It would start off like a normal flu and what they would need to do as with any flu is to drink lots of liquids, rest and take the appropriate flu medication”

Chief Medical Officer of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Clive Tilluckdharry commenting on Influenza A (H1N1) virus in Trinidad and Tobago

Zika Virus, you might have to take a seat, as this next virus is a little more dangerous.

I'm of course talking about Influenza A (H1N1) virus or swine Flu, with the Ministry of Health is worried may soon come to Jamaica as reported in the article “Jamaica Heighten's Influenza A Virus Watch”, Published Tuesday December 22, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

So why is Chief Medical Officer, Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse telling us to be wary of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus even as Zika Virus is in the Caribbean and may be headed to Jamaica as noted in my blog article entitled “739 Zika Virus Cases in Brazil and 2 adult deaths - How Zika Virus is causing birth defects in unborn Brazilian babies”?

Because based on India's experience in early February 2015 as noted in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Chikungunya Outbreak possible – Why H1N1 Outbreak in Jamaica possible as 1,731 die in India from H1N1 Outbreak”, the Influenza A (H1N1) virus can kill.

Jamaica on high alert for Influenza A (H1N1) virus - The Swine Flu Killer already in Trinidad and Tobago

Closer to home, Trinidad and Tobago is currently battling an outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Some twenty nine (29) persons confirmed as having being infected with Influenza A (H1N1) virus as noted in the article “29 confirmed swine flu cases this year”, published Saturday, December 19, 2015, The Trinidad Guardian..

So far, of the twenty nine (29) persons confirmed showing symptoms of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, twenty five (25) have been treated by doctors and sent home.

However, there have been three (3) deaths, with a pregnant 28-year-old Stacy Ramkissoon from a Tunapuna address possibly becoming the fourth victim as reported in the article “Mom who had contracted swine flu dies at Mt Hope”, published Monday, December 21, 2015 by Kalifa Clyne, The Trinidad Guardian.

She died at the Eric Williams Sciences Complex in Mt Hope, though it's too early to tell if she'd actually died from an infection from Influenza A (H1N1) virus or complications due to her pregnancy. This has Grenadians nervous as the Influenza A (H1N1) virus can kill as noted in the article “Grenada on swine flu alert as neighbouring Trinidad records cases and deaths”, published DECEMBER 21, 2015, CARIBBEAN360.

Despite this, the Trinidadians have the disease under control. This isn't a health crisis, as Trinidad and Tobago is well prepared according to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh:

1.      20,000 doses of Influenza A (H1N1) virus vaccine
2.      80% of Influenza A (H1N1) virus vaccine used
3.      3,500 adult vaccines remaining
4.      4,000 children vaccines remaining

Still, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh isn't taking any chances.

The Ministry of Health has placed an order with PAHO (Pan American Health Organisation) for some 20,000 additional vaccines even as he assured Trinidadians that they've got enough to inoculate infected Trinidadians as noted in “Enough H1N1 vaccine in the country”, published Tuesday, December 22 2015 By MIRANDA La Rose, Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

This was probably done on the advice of Chief Medical Officer Clive Tilluckdharry, who pointed out in a phone interview with the Trinidad Guardian that more people might be getting sick, quote: “We have about 4,000 cases of the flu every year. For this year, so far, 29 cases have been lab-confirmed as H1N1”.

Amazingly, the Trinidadian Health Workers, possibly having no faith in their Minister of Health, are reluctant to take the vaccine. This even though they are being given it for free along with training on how to use PPE (Personal Protective Equiptment).

The Influenza A (H1N1) virus is a more deadly and contagious variant of the regular Influenza Virus and can cause death.

So how easy is it to contract the Influenza A (H1N1) virus?

The Influenza A (H1N1) virus - Symptoms and treatment

Apparently Influenza A (H1N1) virus is not as easy to contract as other more deadly diseases. Here’s a quick history of H1N1, which dates back to 1918!

Contracting it is difficult and death is unlikely as noted by Chief Medical Officer Clive Tilluckdharry in the article “Chief Medical Officer: Low chances of H1N1 deaths”, published Tuesday, December 22, 2015 by Kalifa Clyne, Trinidad Guardian.

Influenza A (H1N1) virus, like all flu-like viruses, is spread via aerosolization of the virus i.e. sneezing and coughing as noted in the article “Be in the know about flu”, published Sunday, October 11, 2015 by Dr Romayne Edwards, The Jamaica Observer

Droplets of sputum (saliva and mucus from the respiratory tract) are coughed up by the infected persons and then inhaled by other persons nearby. Alternatively, these droplets with the Influenza A (H1N1) virus can be passed by shaking your hands with someone after they've sneezed into their hand as well as touching infected surfaces i.e. doorknobs, flat surfaces such as desks or countertops.

Once the victim rubs the soft parts of their bodies that have a thin layer of epithelial cells i.e. eyes, mouth or nose, they can become infected. The symptoms begin to be seen within two (2) days after contracting the virus and lasts for a week.

The symptoms of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus are as follows:

1.      Dry cough.
2.      Headache
3.      High fever
4.      Muscle and joint pains
5.      Runny nose
6.      Sore throat
7.      Tiredness
8.      Unwell feeling

Most people recover after one or two weeks. Doctors usually prescribe the following drugs for the above symptoms, which at times can be quite unpleasant:

1.      Panadol/Tylenol
2.      DPH
3.      Claritine [loratidine]
4.      Cetirizine
5.      Fexofenadine

Panadol/Tylenol is an Acetaminophen and is taken to relieve the Muscle and joint pains. DPH, claritine [loratidine], cetirizine, or fexofenadine with pseudoephedrine is used to reduce sneezing and the production of mucus and sputum.

The disease becomes a killer when it infects someone with a weak immune system i.e.:

1.      Elderly
2.      Infants
3.      Persons with chronic medical conditions, such as heart, lung, kidney disease, diabetes and Asthma
4.      Pregnant women
5.      Young children

Prevention, not treatment, is best and there are several things that both the public as well as health care workers can use to reduce the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) virus follows:

1.      Avoid contact with persons with flu-like symptoms
2.      Avoid intimate contact including hand shaking and kissing
3.      Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
4.      Health care workers wearing specialized masks and other PPE
5.      Wash your hands frequently and properly

It’s still very unlikely that Jamaica will be affected, so long as we all take our Vitamin C starting now as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Vitamin C and the Chikungunya Virus - How to increase your Vitamin C Intake, Glutathione and Interferon by White Blood Cells”. 

As for me, I plan to buy a bottle of B12 and other Vitamins come January 2016, as I have no intention of starting 2016 with any illnesses!

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