CMO: No influenza epidemic in T&T

Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer Dr Roshan Paras­ram told Guardian Me­dia there was no epi­dem­ic of in­fluen­za at this point and the more se­vere flu should be dis­tin­guished from the com­mon cold.

His com­ment came in the face of re­cent cas­es of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) and H3N2 flu – and at least one death sus­pect­ed due to com­pli­ca­tions.

Paras­ram, how­ev­er, con­firmed that H1N1 had been cir­cu­lat­ing since 2009 and the H3N2 flu al­so af­ter that, in the re­gion.

“We’ve been do­ing swab­bing and we have H1N1 and H3N2 in cir­cu­la­tion since last year as well as the Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­cy­tial Virus (RSV). With the in­fluen­za, the fever is very high grade and comes on more quick­ly with com­pli­ca­tions than the com­mon cold,”

Paras­ram said all of the dis­eases – the in­fluen­zas as well as the com­mon cold – are spread by droplet in­fec­tion.

“There­fore every­one’s cough and sneeze eti­quette is im­por­tant. Cough or sneeze in­to a hand­ker­chief, or cov­er-up. The main thing, how­ev­er, is if you’re ill, is to stay at home – chil­dren es­pe­cial­ly – since it’s spread by con­tact,” he added.

Pararam said it was ex­pect­ed flu vac­cines may be in health cen­tres by end of the week if not be­fore.

He rec­om­mend­ed peo­ple shouldn’t take an­tibi­otics for the in­fluen­za – ex­cept where there are com­pli­ca­tions – but use mul­ti­symp­tom tablets.

Mean­while, the Op­po­si­tion has called on the Gov­ern­ment to come clean on the sit­u­a­tion and not to at­tempt any cov­er-up.


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