Categorized | National News

Swine Flu Cases Emerge- -Minister encourages widespread vaccinations

Two confirmed cases of swine flu and so far one death here in The Bahamas  have  prompted  a renewed call for  residents to be vaccinated.

The  Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said some  Bahamians are reluctant to do so, when nearly half of the population should, when we look at individuals such as health care workers, young daycare providers, children, people that interact with children less than five years of age, the elderly,” he said.

The Minister added to the list “people that have chronic non-communicable diseases, heart disease, kidney failure, liver disease, neurologic problems, blood or metabolic disorders including diabetes, people who have HIV, or are otherwise immunosuppressed. In addition, people who are on steroids, pregnant women, people  that live in nursing homes or other chronic care facilities, people with extreme obesity. 

“Which when we’re talking about The Bahamas, we’re talking about a significant part of of our population with a BM greater than 40,” he said.

The minister said the flu vaccination has proven effective.

“The vaccine probably reduces your risk by about 40-60 per cent; it doesn’t eliminate it, but it is thought that for those strains of flu that are in the vaccine, that if you were to still get them, that you would get a milder form of influenza,” he said.

“And if you look at the number of people who die every year from influenza around the world, there are thousands of people who die from influenza.”

According  to the Health  Minister, 80,000 people died from influenza in the U.S in 2017-2018.

However, Dr. Sands said it’s a bit difficult to say what that figure is locally, considering such deaths are given the broad term pneumonia.

“In the private sector,  a number of times people will have the test for influenza done, when they present to hospital with pneumonia.

“In the public sector, we don’t have the same capacity.  Now you can say we ought to have the capacity, but the truth is we don’t,” he said.

Swine flu symptoms include a cough, fever, sore throat, stuff or runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

In terms of the vaccination, and an age limit, Dr. Sands said every one six months and older should get it, every flu season.

The flu vaccination is available at all public clinics at no charge.

The minister said he plans to get his, this weekend. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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