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#335407 - 05/01/09 02:11 PM Town Council Addresses Swine Flu
Marty Offline


The San Pedro Town Council held a closed meeting with doctors, principals and teachers yesterday afternoon to discuss the current situation with the Swine Flu virus. School officials were updated with the situation and were educated on how to handle and relay the information to their staff and student body. One thing that was not canceled was the high school entrance exam PSE (Primary School Examination) which is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 4, 2009.

The San Pedro Town Council also held a meeting last evening at 5p.m. at the Lions Den to address members of the San Pedro Business Association. Small closed meeting are being held with different officials and groups so as to minimize contact with large groups of people as a precaution of the swine flu pandemic. You can tune in to the Reef Radio to listen in on the meetings.




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#335408 - 05/01/09 02:13 PM Re: Town Council Addresses Swine Flu [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
(from the San Pedro Sun last night)

Swine Flu Town Meeting held

A town meeting was held tonight where the residents were informed on the status of the Swine Flu Virus. A limited amount of residents showed up to hear what town doctors had to say. Precautions were mentioned and Mayor Elsa Paz commented that the San Pedro Town Council was preparing themselves to handle an infection.Dr. Daniel Gonzalez stated that the best way to prevent the virus is to conduct proper hygiene. "The idea is hygiene. Not washing our hands is how we get the virus," he stated, "that is how the virus gets into our system.:"



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#335411 - 05/01/09 02:22 PM Re: Town Council Addresses Swine Flu [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belize Braces for Swine Flu

Everyone is on the alert and keeping keen attention as to what is happening in Mexico and around the world with the Swine Flu (Influenza A H1N1). Although there are no confirmed cases in Belize (as of press time Thursday), residents of Belize have to exercise extreme caution and to know what can do to protect one’s self from getting infected.

Dr. Javier Zuniga of the San Pedro Poly Clinic mentioned to us that although there are many cases of flu, none seem to be the Swine flu (as of press time Thursday). “As soon as someone starts experiencing flu-like symptoms, it is recommended for that person to receive immediate medical treatment,” stated Dr. Zuniga. “In Belize there is no way for doctors to check whether one has the common flu or the swine flu virus.”

“Studies will have to be done abroad and there is no vaccine for the influenza. But one can practice basic hygiene, such as washing of hands frequently and it is also recommended to use face masks as well,” stated Dr. Zuniga. “It is better to be safe than sorry, and we urge anyone with the flu to seek medical attention.”

Many local residents have rushed to the Poly Clinic to receive flu shots, which were given out for free, but Dr. Zuniga stated that the regular flu shot is not effective in preventing the infection of the swine flu virus. People need to understand that doctors in Belize will not be able to diagnose if a person has been infected with the swine flu virus. Again, just take the precautionary preventative methods and visit the doctor upon the first symptoms of the flu appear.

Although thousands of Belizeans and Mexican pass through both border points every day, as of press time there were no plans to close the border. Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Edwards recommends anyone with plans to travel to Chetumal, Mexico, or beyond, to suspend them unless it is for an emergency. Here in San Pedro, we know of many residents who have cancelled their trips and vacations to our neighboring country for a precaution.

At the Belize/Mexico border employees have been issued to wear gloves and face masks for their own protections and word from nearby border city of Chetumal is that residents are wearing masks out in public. Cases of the swine flu viral infections have been confirmed in Merida and Cancun, but not in Chetumal as of press time.

But while the Ministry’s education campaign is good for prevention methods, the very imminent possibility of an outbreak of swine flu in Belize will be the ultimate test of readiness. For severe cases, the Ministry of Health will have access to the prescription drug Tamiflu which has proven to be very effective to treat the symptoms of the swine virus. At present there is only a small supply of the drug available in Belize, but health officials say an adequate supply will be provided by PAHO and the World Health Organization.

Dr. Michael Pitts, Dir. Of Health Services, says that “Tamiflu was being stockpiled in Panama for the region of the Americas and confirmed that they are able to get access dosages to treat 6,000 persons in the country of Belize through that facility. “When we look at that, we think that might be a reasonable amount to have for the country. ”he stated.

Swine Flu Symptoms

* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated that the symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of other strains of human flu, including fever over 38°C/100.4°F, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A few patients have reported that they also suffered from diarrhea and vomiting.

* The symptoms and transmission of the swine flu from human to human is much like seasonal flu, commonly fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is believed to be spread between humans through coughing or sneezing of infected people and touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth.

* Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food. The swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days.

Prevention and helpful tips

* Recommendations to prevent infection by the virus consist of the standard personal precautions against influenza. This includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in-public.

* People should avoid touching their mouth, nose or eyes with their hands unless they've washed their hands. If people do cough, they should either, cough into a tissue and throw it in the garbage immediately, cough into their elbow, or, if they cough in their hand, they should wash their hands immediately.

* Avoid places where there are lots of people like, super markets, malls, clinics, etc… if you have to go to these places it is recommended to wear surgical mask and wash hands after coming back from these places.

* Consume fruits and vegetables that have vitamin A and C like oranges, watermelons, tomatoes, limes, bananas, apples, grapes, carrots, corn, mangos, guavas, papayas. Milk, eggs and liver also have vitamin A.

* Clean rooms with white distilled vinegar (half vinegar –half water) may use only vinegar. Place it in an all purpose sprayer.

* Boil white distilled vinegar to disinfect the entire house.

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#335573 - 05/02/09 02:38 AM Re: Town Council Addresses Swine Flu [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
May 1st, 2009

Belize’s Ministry of Health this morning held a press conference in Belize to share the following information on the swine flu, which the World Health Organization (WHO) is now referring to as Influenza A/H1N1.
In collaboration with the Mexican authorities, the Belize Free Zone and Casinos in Corozal have been closed. On a daily basis more than 4,000 Mexicans visit and 2,000 Belizeans work in these areas and this closure is in keeping with the efforts of Mexican authorities to avoid transmissions of the Influenza A/H1N1 by closing non-essential services in Mexico.
To date 16 samples from Belize have been sent for testing of which preliminary results have been received for 8. Samples are sent for testing using the conditions outlined in the Criteria used for the rapid identification of unusual or unexpected cases of respiratory disease. (outlined below).
Of the first 8 samples sent for testing, 5 fit the criteria to be tested for the Influenza A/H1N1Virus. Those 5 samples have all proven to be negative. The other 3 DID NOT fit the criteria for the Influenza A/H1N1 testing, but they are still under investigation to determine what viruses might be involved.
Dr. Paul Edwards has CATEGORICALLY STATED that the first 8 samples sent for investigation are NEGATIVE for Influenza A/H1N1. This is in keeping with today’s announcement by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) that all specimens received from its member states have proven thus far to be negative.
The results of the remaining 8 samples sent for testing are expected back today by 6:00 PM.
All other preventative measures already established in Belize remain with no further escalation in Belize’s Pandemic response at this time.
All New media releases on Influenza A (H1N1)are posted on belizeemergency.net

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Criteria used for the rapid identification of unusual or unexpected cases of respiratory disease:

Definitions:
SARI – Severe Acute Respiratory Illness
ILI – Influenza Like Illness
SARI in a health care worker who has had only occupational exposure to patients with SARI;
SARI or ILI case of unexplained cause in a person who works with or has had exposure to sick or dead animals/H1N1;
SARI or ILI in a person who has traveled within the past 2 weeks to an area where there have been confirmed cases of H1N1 flu A/H1N1;
SARI or ILI in a person who has had contact with ill person(s) who have traveled within the past 2 weeks to an area where there have been confirmed cases of H1N1 flu A/H1N1;
SARI in previously healthy young adults (5-60 years);
Death from SARI or ILI of unknown cause;
Any case of SARI or ILI that a health professional perceives as unusual due to atypical presentation or disease progression. Thus there is an urgent need to keep track the evolution of cases of SARI or ILI, to consider other underlying medical conditions, and to determine other usual, established causes (i.e. due to diseases that are common in the area such as Dengue, Leptospirosis or other conditions that may produce SARI like symptoms)
Source: Belize's Ministry of Health website - http://www.health.gov.bz/moh/
Document:Infection Control IP Guidelines Belize

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Reminders for Keeping Healthy

The following are some of the recommendations being provided by the BTB, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), to tourism businesses to promote safety:
Ensure a high level of sanitation in your property to minimize the spread of any infection. Health experts recommend frequent hand washing and use of alcohol-based hand cleaners. Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread in this manner.
Any employee who exhibits flu symptoms should stay at home, minimizing contact with others. If flu symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical treatment.
Maintain a level of concern, not panic. At this point there is no reason to discourage people from traveling to or within Belize.
Individuals should be encouraged to take common sense steps to protect themselves including maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep, proper nutrition, controlling stress and maintaining physical fitness.
All New media releases on Influenza A (H1N1)are posted on belizeemergency.net


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