10 respiratory related deaths since influenza outbreak
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has confirmed that there there have been 10 respiratory- related deaths since the Influenza Like Illness (ILI) outbreak in July.
In a detailed statement to the media, the MHMS said since July there have been 1,593 respiratory presentations at NRH Emergency Department.
“Of these, there have been 10 respiratory- related deaths. 5 of these deaths were amongst ages between 44 to 84 years that have underlying health conditions and the other 5 were amongst children aged 0 to 14 years, 2 of whom had known underlying condition. Of the 10 deaths, 4 had influenza A H3, 1 with chlamydia pneumonia, 2 had no swabs taken, 1 swab was invalid and 1 swab returned negative for any viruses or bacteria and the other result is still pending,” MHMS said in the statement.
It says with regards to age groups affected, the majority of cases were aged from 0 to 39 years; however, all age groups from 0 to 60 plus were affected. The age group with the most cases are those 5 years and below with more females presenting at the health facilities than males.
Laboratory testing continues to show Respiratory viruses as the cause for the outbreak of current flu like illness experienced with Influenza A Rhinovirus/Enterovirus, adenovirus and all causes of the common cold or flu. However, these viruses can cause severe diseases, hospitalization, and deaths in certain people who are more at risk such as small children and older adults, people with co-existing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and obesity etc. The cases of respiratory illnesses undergo testing for SARS-Cov_2m that causes COVID-19, but the number of samples tested positive for COVID are very low.
With this, the Ministry of Health is calling on the public to remain vigilant and continue to practice all public safe measures of;
- Wearing of masks in public places such as along the streets, at the markets, inside of stores, and when traveling by public transport, buses and taxis.
- Constantly practice hand washing with soap or hand sanitizer
- Maintain social distance of at least two meters from another person as much as possible.
- Avoid public or large gatherings
- Avoid visitation to families and friends in another household
- Maintain personal hygiene at all times.