At a press conference held at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, yesterday, Wednesday, January 15, 2013, the Belize Ministry of Health, confirmed that a 29-year-old female has died from the H1N1 Influenza A virus in the country. Two other cases were also confirmed but were not lethal. The H1N1 also known as the swine flu has resurfaced in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.
Although there have been three confirmed cases of the swine flu in Belize, the Ministry of Health says that there is no need to panic as it is not pandemic in the country yet, but Belizeans need to be cautions as there is an increase of influenza activity. In 2009 there was a swine flu scare due to outbreaks in Mexico and other neighboring countries, which caused many deaths. That particular strain of influenza was confirmed in Belize in 2011 and 2012, but that is not the strain of virus to be affecting Belize during this flu season.
Director of Medical Services, Doctor Michael Pitts, and other medical personnel reported on the results made available on Tuesday by the Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency in Trinidad. A total of five cases were sent for testing in which three came back positive for three females. Two were treated and released from the Western Regional Hospital, but 29-year-old Belize City resident, Shahera Bodden, died on January 6 of sever pneumonia four days after she was admitted to the KHMH.
The Ministry of Health says that good hygiene and covering your mouth when coughing can assist to prevent the spread of the influenza. With the regular flu-like illnesses, people should start feeling better and their symptoms improving. If after three days these symptoms are not improving and there are no signs of recovery, persons must seek medical assistance immediately. Director of Medical Services, Doctor Michael Pitts, says that the ministry has Tamiflu and vaccines to make available to the public.