H1N1 flu kills three

02 August 2019 | Health

During July, the H1N1 flu strain claimed the lives of three people. Two men, aged 47 and 53, and a woman of 61 died on 12, 22 and 27 July respectively.

Manga Libita, spokesperson for the health ministry, told Namibian Sun that 65 cases of H1N1 have been recorded at private medical facilities since 19 June. She added that the ministry was waiting for the laboratory results of a state patient who showed symptoms of the strain.

Besides two from Outjo and one from Swakopmund, all the cases occurred in the district of Windhoek.

Libita said out of the 65 confirmed cases, 44 were aged five years and older, while 21 were younger than five. Of these, 34 were female and remainder male. Libita emphasised that there is no “outbreak” of H1N1, saying it is merely seasonal flu which is common during winter.

The matron at the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek, Bernadette Shipanga, told Namibian Sun that the hospital was not inundated with cases of flu but added that people are sick. Lady Pohamba Private Hospital's chief of nursing, Hannelie Botha, said the figures were “exactly the same as last year”.

“The number of respiratory infections is higher but, it is winter and is a seasonally normal occurrence,” Botha said.

Windhoek's Mediclinic hospital manager, Elmarie Vink, believes that the incidence of flu is normal for this time of year.

“We know there is a decline in the numbers by middle August,” she told Namibian Sun.

The World Health Organisation has classified the H1N1 virus, commonly known as “swine flu”, as a seasonal flu virus.

Signs and symptoms include high fever, coughing, a sore throat, runny nose, headaches, diarrhoea and nausea. During 2018, Namibia had 106 confirmed cases of H1N1 with two fatalities. All the regions, save for Oshikoto, Omusati, Ohangwena, the two Kavango regions and //Karas, reported cases.

In 2009/10, Namibia suffered an outbreak with more than 8 000 cases of suspected H1N1 infections. Of these, only 102 rested positive, with the most cases reported in the Ohangwena, Omusati and //Karas regions.

H1N1 is transmitted the same way as regular flu and immune-compromised individuals, along with the elderly and the very young, are at greatest risk of contracting the virus.

A vaccination is available.



HENRIETTE LAMPRECHT

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