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At least 3 Swine Flu deaths in Trinidad and Tobago

By Trinidad Guardian

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Min­is­ter of Health Ter­rence Deyals­ingh

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — The Health Min­istry is on high alert for cas­es of Swine Flu fol­low­ing the death of a third pa­tient from the dead­ly virus.

A state­ment from the South-West Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty in re­sponse to the Guardian’s re­port on the death of a Tabaquite woman said “prop­er med­ical pro­ce­dures were fol­lowed” at the San Fer­nan­do Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal in treat­ing Nicole Seecha­ran.

“The SWRHA con­tin­ues to be on height­ened alert and sur­veil­lance for swine flu cas­es and has co­or­di­nat­ed all its fa­cil­i­ties to be ful­ly pre­pared for any fur­ther pres­ence of the dis­ease in the South-West Re­gion,” the state­ment said.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia, Min­is­ter of Health Ter­rence Deyals­ingh said, “I’ve been mak­ing this call since No­vem­ber last year. I my­self took the in­fluen­za vac­cine to show how im­por­tant it is to get in­oc­u­lat­ed. The flu is not to be tak­ing light­ly, it is a dead­ly virus.”

In 2018, there were two in­fluen­za-re­lat­ed deaths for flu sea­son, Deyals­ingh con­firmed: “and that was de­spite an ag­gres­sive vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme by the Min­istry of Health.”

In prepa­ra­tion for the 2019 flu sea­son, the Health Min­istry brought in 75,000 dos­es of the in­fluen­za vac­cine, which can be re­quest­ed at health cen­tres free of charge.

“Some cit­i­zens have not been lis­ten­ing to my calls. Un­less there is an emer­gency we do not act. You can on­ly safe­guard your health by get­ting the flu vac­ci­na­tion shot,” Deyals­ingh said.

In ear­ly Jan­u­ary, the South West Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty (SWRHA) act­ing med­ical di­rec­tor, Dr Robin Sinanan, con­firmed there have been “a cou­ple of cas­es” of pa­tients con­tract­ing the H1N1 but as­sured steps were be­ing tak­en to treat with these pa­tients, in­clud­ing more ro­bust im­mu­niza­tion pro­grammes.

In re­la­tion to the Seecha­ran’s case, the SWRHA said the pro­to­cols, na­sopha­ryn­geal swabs to test for the In­fluen­za A (H1N1) “Swine Flu” were tak­en on De­cem­ber 10, 2018, and sent to the Trinidad and To­ba­go Pub­lic Health Lab­o­ra­to­ry.

“The lab­o­ra­to­ry re­sults were re­turned nine days lat­er. On re­ceipt of the re­sults, our sur­veil­lance team im­me­di­ate­ly con­tact­ed the rel­a­tives to dis­cuss the find­ings and pro­vide vac­ci­na­tions to the fam­i­ly,” the SWRHA said.

The SWRHA is urg­ing all cit­i­zens to prac­tice good hy­giene (wash­ing hands) and prop­er res­pi­ra­to­ry eti­quette (cov­er your mouth when you cough, sneeze, etc). Any per­son dis­play­ing flu-like symp­toms is urged to vis­it their doc­tor or health cen­tre im­me­di­ate­ly.

The Au­thor­i­ty re­mains com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing the spread of the dis­ease and en­cour­ages mem­bers of the pub­lic to vis­it any of our 31 Health Cen­tres and 3 Dis­trict Health Fa­cil­i­ties lo­cat­ed at Cou­va, Siparia or Princes Town to re­ceive the In­fluen­za vac­cine free of charge,” the state­ment said.

Fam­i­ly and friends of Nicole Seecha­ran who died last month of Swine Flu are ques­tion­ing why no one was told the truth sur­round­ing the na­ture of her death.

Seecha­ran, a 47-year-old taxi dri­ver of Tabaquite died on De­cem­ber 12, how­ev­er, a Guardian Me­dia ex­clu­sive re­vealed yes­ter­day that she died of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus.

Rel­a­tives said med­ical of­fi­cials on­ly con­firmed Seecha­ran con­tract­ed the dead­ly H1N1 virus sev­er­al days af­ter her death.

Seecha­ran’s neigh­bour, Sharen Badal-Ahyew, one of the vil­lagers who took the in­fluen­za vac­cine fol­low­ing her death, re­mained baf­fled as to why they weren’t told the truth.

“I vis­it­ed her at the hos­pi­tal and did not know she had Swine Flu,” she said.

“Why did it take so long for the Min­istry to in­form fam­i­ly and vil­lagers about Nicole’s death? Why does it take so long to get the H1N1 blood test re­sults?”

Fol­low­ing the ar­ti­cle, over 50 vil­lagers head­ed to the Tabaquite Health Cen­tre to get the In­fluen­za shot yes­ter­day in an at­tempt to avoid Seecha­ran’s fate.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

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