READINESS AND STATUS ON INFLUENZA A H1N1
The first case of Influenza A H1N1 in the Northern Cape Province has been confirmed in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district. A 20 year old female from the John Taolo Gaetsewe district has been in contact with a confirmed case in Johannesburg. She developed influenza like symptoms and was later confirmed to be positive for Influenza A H1N1. This person has been in home isolation since Sunday 05 July 2009 and her condition is satisfactory. Five contacts(5) of this person are on treatment and under close surveillance.
The Northern Cape Department of Health (NCDOH) has got a surveillance system in place for early detection of cases. All cases will go to health facilities and only those who need to be hospitalized, will be referred to a hospital. Mild cases will be allowed to recover at home.
Furthermore, a Northern Cape Provincial Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan was developed in 2007 by a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplined team. This plan makes provision for various matters including early detection of cases and the reporting thereof. This plan has been implemented and health care workers in all five(5) districts of the Northern Cape Province had been trained on this plan. There are also functional district outbreak response teams in all five(5) districts. There is also a National Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan for South Africa.
Both hospitals in Kimberley, namely Kimberley Hospital Complex and Medi-Clinic, have made provision for the admission of severe cases and public hospitals in the following towns had been designated to deal with Influenza AH1N1 cases namely De Aar, Calvinia, Upington, Springbok and Kuruman. Both the Upington and Kimberley Medi-Clinics are also prepared to deal with this disease.
Both major airports in the province namely in Upington and Kimberley, have been prepared to deal with ill travelers and isolation rooms at each airport have been identified.
The Northern Cape Department of Health (NCDOH) and its sector partners are distributing information material throughout the province regarding Influenza AH1N1.
The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan aims to protect every one in the province. A major focus area of the plan is about dealing with a high number of cases.
Vaccines are in a process of being developed on a world wide scale. The Northern Cape Department of Health (NCDOH) received stock of Tamiflu (an anti-viral) and are in the process of being distributed to the five(5) districts in the province.
The Northern Cape Province is ready and well prepared to deal with Influenza AH1N1.
The following frequently asked questions are aimed at providing important information to the public regarding Influenza A H1N1:
How do you catch Influenza A H1N1?
Spread of Influenza A H1N1can occur in two ways:
Are there medicines to treat Influenza A H1N1?
Yes, there are drugs which are available on the advice of a clinician
How long can an infected person spread Influenza A H1N1to others?
People with Influenza A H1N1 virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against Influenza A H1N1. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.
Everyday steps to protect your health:
What should I do if I suspect I have Influenza A H1N1?
The clinical presentation of Influenza A H1N1 infection in humans resembles seasonal influenza and other acute upper respiratory tract infections. This includes fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea. When you experience the above symptoms, report to your nearest health facility.
Emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
Can I get Influenza A H1N1 when I eat pork?
No. Influenza A H1N1 viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get Influenza A H1N1 from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
The Northern Cape Department of Health urges all members of the public to immediately consult a doctor or visit a health care facility to obtain medical care if any of the abovementioned symptoms are experienced.
Issued by: Ministry of Health