Swine flu on South Coast

2011-06-22 00:00

TWO cases of swine flu have been reported on the South Coast. Both Margate Hospital and Port Shepstone Provincial Hospital have confirmed treatment of patients for the H1N1 virus.

A woman from Johannesburg, who is on holiday on the South Coast, was treated at Margate Hospital casualty last Friday.

Doctor on duty Brendon Singh said she had contracted the virus and was tested in Johannesburg early last week.

The patient, who had since left for the South Coast, only received the test results late last week.

The test takes 72 hours to finalise. Her doctor suggested she seek medical treatment immediately.

“It is an uncomplicated case, so the patient did not have to be admitted,” said Dr Singh.

He said the woman was given Tamiflu, the antibiotic prescribed to treat the H1N1 virus, and was told to stay indoors and out of contact with other people.

“Swine flu is merely another type of flu. The difference is that it is a cross infection between species,” said Dr Singh.

He said patients with complicated cases showed signs of typical flu symptoms, but at a more intense level. These symptoms include high temperature, coughing, uncontrollable breathing, sore throat, aching muscles and persistent headaches.

“There have been cases where patients did not require hospitalisation or an antibiotic,” said Dr Singh.

Phumza Morai, public relations officer for Port Shepstone Provincial Hospital, said doctors are currently treating a patient who has a complicated case of swine flu.

“The patient is critically ill and is being intensely monitored by our medical and nursing staff in the intensive care unit,” said Morai.

“Doctors are also waiting for the test results of a suspected case,” she added.

She said medical staff at the hospital are keeping a watchful eye on the patient too.

“The hospital has gone to the extent of providing the local clinics with vaccines for such viruses,” said Morai.

She added that there has been a positive outcome from the clinics as the vaccine was given to the general public before hand.

“Priority was given to those patients who have weaker immune systems, who are more likely prone to being infected by the virus,” said Morai.

Hibiscus Private Hospital and Murchison Regional Hospital have had no cases of patients with the H1N1 virus.

A healthcare workers handbook, compiled by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the South African National Department of Health and the World Health Organisation states that swine flu can be managed.

According to the document, there are three types of seasonal influenza viruses — A, B and C.

The 2009 pandemic influenza A, which is the H1N1 virus, appeared for the first time in 2009 causing a global influenza pandemic.

It is now seen as a seasonal influenza virus that co-circulates with other seasonal viruses, namely influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B viruses.

The guide also indicates that people at risk for severe or complicated influenza and H1N1 flu are infants and toddlers under the age of two, pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy.

Also at risk are people with chronic diseases; certain neurological and neuro-developmental conditions (disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve and muscles, such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, stroke); faemoglobinopathies (like sickle cell disease); immuno-suppression (people with weak immune systems); people around the age of 18 receiving chronic aspirin therapy; people in the age group of 65; and people who are morbidly obese (a body mass index of 40).

For more information visit www.doh.gov.za.

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