FOLLOWING the death of a Deccan Road pupil, nine-year-old Giselle Chetty, and the department confirming one more positive case of the H1N1 virus in the province, the Department of Health is strongly encouraging pupil vaccination in an attempt to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Last week, Deccan Road Primary addressed pupils’ parents through a letter stating that, after consulting with physicians, they had decided to sanitise items including air conditioners, furniture, and toilets while also suspending physical activities. The school then closed its doors for the thorough cleansing last week and reopened on Monday. Since the incident, KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has called for calm, stating that articles relating to an outbreak have been erroneously reported, creating a panic among people. “H1N1, also known as swine flu, is now a seasonal influenza virus that becomes prevalent in winter and co-circulates with other seasonal viruses … [it] is thus being treated as normal flu,” said Simelane-Zulu. The department has since stated that authorities and the general public must exercise caution, claiming that the spread of rumours would create an unnecessary panic. Simelane-Zulu said that the department has issued a notice to health facilities throughout the province and that they are on the lookout for severe types of influenza, advising them to treat these cases with urgency. “If influenza is treated on time and treated correctly, it need not have any devastating results,” said Simelane-Zulu .“If influenza is treated on time and treated correctly, it need not have any devastating results,” said the KZN Health MEC.