Jamaica’s Health Ministry Increases Surveillance for H1N1

The Ministry of Health has increased its surveillance for cases of Influenza A (H1N1), in light of the outbreak of the virus in other parts of the Caribbean.

“There are no reports of the H1N1 virus in Jamaica; however, with frequent travel, we are on the lookout for it,” said Director of Health Promotion and Protection in the Ministry, Dr. Sonia Copeland.

Jamaica's Health Ministry Increases Surveillance for H1N1

Dr. Sonia Copeland – photo (Jamaica Observer)

“We have an influenza surveillance system all year round. Our samples are tested at our National Influenza Centre (University of the West Indies) and every week, a report is sent to the Ministry so that we can determine the trends,” she told JIS News.

Dr. Copeland informed that the fever scanning machines at the island’s two main airports in Kingston and Montego Bay will aid in the detection of elevated body temperatures of arriving passengers. A high fever is one of the symptoms of the H1N1 virus.

“It would be persons, who are having fever and also exhibiting signs and symptoms of influenza (who would be tested),” said the Director.

Symptoms of the virus are similar to influenza and may include sneezing, coughing, runny and stuffy nose, fatigue and headache.

Dr. Copeland is advising persons to visit their doctor for treatment if they are experiencing any of these symptoms.

By Shari-Ann Palmer December 24, 2015

Source: JIS

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