PMB pair ill with swine flu

2009-07-27 00:00

A MATRIC pupil at a high school in Pietermaritzburg and her DUT Durban student boyfriend are among the first people in the city to contract the H1N1 swine flu virus after they visited Johannesburg recently.

Dannette Wilson (18) and Jason de Koning (22) are recovering at De Koning’s home.

Dannette told The Witness the pair returned from Johannesburg on Sunday, July 12.

“On Monday Jason was complaining his throat was sore and then he developed a cough and a headache.” De Koning continued attending lectures at the DUT in Durban, and she spent time with him that week.

On Friday he came home to Pietermaritzburg. “He just went downhill and he had to be taken to casualty on Saturday night,” said Dannette, a pupil at GHS. A doctor tested him and confirmed he has the H1N1 virus.

Dannette then fell ill with headaches, a sore throat and dizziness. After beginning the week at school, she saw a doctor and yesterday received the results of her tests, which show she has swine flu.

Dannette’s mother, Dale Lewis, said she is very worried about her.

“We have been told that once she recovers she must have a clearance certificate from the doctor before she goes back to school. Our family doctor said that Dannette was the first case his practice had seen,” said Lewis.

Dannette’s grandmother, Heather Wilson, told The Witness the family has warned all their friends to go to the doctor and get the antiviral drug, Tamiflu. “We even told the Bible study group to take Tamiflu after they were at our home during the week.”

She said the families have decided to isolate the pair together.

Commenting on the issue, deputy principal at Girls’ High School Mary-Ann Akerman said they will not be taking any drastic measures like closing the school. She said parents have been informed and precautions taken so the disease does not spread

“As far as we know, she is the only one at the school with the virus. As soon as we heard that her boyfriend was confirmed to have the virus last week, letters went out to parents. We have received medical advice. Our school doctor contacted a specialist who feels there is no cause for alarm.”

All the girls who have been in contact with Dannette have been advised to see a general practitioner for Tamiflu.

Akerman said they will be keeping tabs on the situation and keeping parents updated.

Last week, a Johannesburg private school, Red Hill, took a more severe approach, closing a week early for its mid-year break after confirmed cases of the virus at the school.

This is the second private school to have confirmed cases of pupils with the virus. Last week, St Stithian’s was reported to have had nine cases.

Education and Health officials are expected to visit schools in Gauteng this week to educate the teachers and their pupils about the virus. The Educaton Department said it is not necessary to close schools.

More than 100 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in South Africa, but there have been no deaths. Globally, 800 deaths have been reported.

Chris Maxon of the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department said there are 15 confirmed cases of swine flu in the province.

• A recent onset of fever with sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, cough, muscle pain and/or gastrointestinal symptoms, lethargy, lack of appetite.

• Recent travel or close contact with someone who had a suspected/confirmed case of swine flu in the seven days before the onset of symptoms.

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