Screen_Shot_2014-01-14_at_7.50.34_PMThree years ago, in 2009 to be exact, the H1N1 Virus, better known as the swine flu first emerged creating public panic in Belize. While the panic diminished the H1N1 did not disappear. It has always been here in Belize as it was detected in 2012 and 2013 yet no deaths were recorded. But apparently things have changed.

 


Here in the country of Belize two persons have died from a severe strain of influenza, and four more persons were being treated for acute respiratory distress at the KHMH up to the 8th January 2014.


At the time when the news broke out personnel from the Health Sector held a meeting in Belize City to review the cases to verify if there was an apparent pattern of the infection and concluded that it was a flu virus.


Right after that the Ministry of Health issued a press release indicating that they were monitoring cases of severe respiratory infections that could be H1N1 which is also called swine flu.

 

At the time of the release the Ministry of Health indicated that Laboratory tests were being conducted to determine whether the cases being managed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital are the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus. And from all indications the results came back positive.

 

Today the Ministry of Health issued a release inviting the media to attend a press briefing to quote unquote “update the public on the lab results and management of the recent H1N1 Influenza cases across the country.”


Sounds like its serious business since from the onset it has been suspected that we could be experiencing an advanced strain of the influenza that hasn’t appeared in Belize so far. But we will definitely know what the country is facing after tomorrow’s press conference.


 

What we can tell you tonight is that reports reaching CTV3 News indicate that in the Corozal District one person could have died of H1N1. As we investigated today we found out that the deceased became sick four days ago. Apparently he caught a cold which got worst as the days progressed. The individual, whose name we will not release as yet, began suffering from fever, cough and achy bones which then turned to pneumonia.

 

The patient was taken to a hospital in Chetumal on Saturday and that is where he died on Sunday afternoon. All indications are that the individual contracted a virus and his lungs collapsed. Today we were informed by family members that they are waiting for the death certificate to find out exactly what their loved one died of. We will have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.


In the meanwhile the Ministry reminds the public that we are currently in the flu season. The flu virusis circulating and every person is at risk of catching the flu. While health facilities continue to manage persons suffering from the flu, it is important to note that the flu can be prevented through the following measures:

 

Washing your hands frequently with soap and clean water, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve and not your hands, keeping your hands away from your face, keeping common surface areas (such as door knobs, counters) clean and disinfected, if ill, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading the infection. If symptoms are persisting or become more severe, visit your nearest health facility.

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