Dr Jilini
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An increase of flu-like-illness has been detected by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services through the enhanced surveillance conducted daily over the past 2 weeks during the Sol2023 Pacific Games.

Following the increases in flu-like cases, the National Referral Hospital (NRH) laboratory has identified circulation of respiratory viruses such as influenza and COVID-19. Influenza and COVID-19 are not new viruses for Solomon Islands however they are known to easily spread during mass gathering events and can cause large increases of flu-like illnesses.

Flu-like illness spreads easily through infected people when they cough or sneeze, and the most common symptoms include fever, dry cough, body aches, runny nose, and sore throat. Additional symptoms for COVID-19 also includes loss of smell, loss of taste and breathing difficulty. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus.

MHMS Deputy Secretary Health Care and acting Incidence Controller Dr Gregory Jilini says the increase of the flu-like illness was detected by the Ministry’s hardworking medical staff on the ground stationed at various satellite clinics and urban health clinics in and around Honiara, including the NRH.

“Daily surveillance is being conducted by our hardworking medical team on the ground to ensure the health and well-being of athletes, delegates from the region and Honiara residents is protected. Data collected over the past 2 weeks, has seen an increase in the influenza-like illness.

“MHMS and our partners are working together to ensure the situation is managed and under control,” said Dr Jilini.

To help reduce the risk of exposure and transmission of the illness, the public, including athletes and delegates from the Pacific are advised and encouraged to observe the following health advice below;

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitizer, especially after going to the toilets; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with flu-like symptoms (fever, cough).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue/cloth or your sleeves (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Throw the tissue in proper bins immediately after use and perform hand hygiene.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning disinfectant such as household bleach.
  • Isolate yourself away from your loved ones at home especially, babies and young children, the elderlies and disabled people, when sick with flu-like symptoms.
  • Wear a mask when going out in public places.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue/cloth or your sleeves when coughing or sneezing
  • For those who will be travelling back to your provinces and countries outside of Solomon Islands, please monitor yourself for any symptoms and notify your health authorities.

The above practices were the norms during the COVID-19 pandemic and community outbreak between 2020 and 2022, and as such, these practices are still very relevant and must continue to be our culture of practice.



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