Six swine flu cases reported in PMB since May 27

2011-06-14 00:00

THE swine flu epidemic is reportedly escalating in Pietermaritzburg. Six more people have been treated for the disease in one hospital since the end of May.

This brings to eight the number of cases treated in the city thus far this season.

Weekend Witness reported that there are two known cases of swine flu, and two others are still being investigated.

Swine flu, caused by the H1N1 virus, is transmitted between humans in the same way as normal seasonal flu, through exposure to droplets expelled by coughing or sneezing.

These droplets can be inhaled and contaminate hands or surfaces which in turn could lead to further exposure and spread.

The typical signs are flu-like and include fever, coughing, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, runny nose and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Reshnee Beekrum, marketing (client services) manager at Medi-Clinic, said in a statement yesterday that since May 27 Medi-Clinic has treated six patients suffering from swine flu.

Three of the patients have been released and the other three are still in hospital and in a stable condition.

The Department of Health has been notified of these cases, Beekrum said.

Attempts to get comment from the department on the scale of the problem were unsuccessful.

Several hospitals contacted by The Witness about the illness yesterday either said they could not give out the information as it was against their policy, or that they have not heard of any reported cases.

Beekrum urged community members to take all necessary precautions against the disease.

She said: “Members of the public should be advised to adhere to normal precautions when they experience the symptoms, including staying at home and consulting a doctor, who will be able to diagnose the illness …”

She said people at risk are those over the age of 65, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities, and children and adolescents who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and might be at risk of experiencing Reye’s syndrome after influenza virus infection.

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