Health Ministry “Dispels Bird Flu Rumors”

April 27, 2016

The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit [ESU] of the Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment have issued an update on the island’s influenza patterns, saying they wish to “dispel inaccurate rumors regarding ‘bird flu’.”

A spokesperson said, “The ESU reminds the public that there are many types of influenza, including influenza types found in various animals, including birds and swine.

“However, the ESU can confirm that the influenza type thus far identified on island this season is type H1N1. This is not ‘bird flu’. “H1N1 is a human influenza and is the same type which is circulating in the USA and UK. H1N1 can cause a serious respiratory illness. However, it is not to be confused with “bird flu” which has not been found on island”, said the Chief Medical Officer [CMO], Dr Cheryl Peek-Ball.

“Symptoms of H1N1 flu develop two to four days after exposure and may remain mild. However, serious attacks may cause sudden onset of sore throat, and runny nose with high fever, headache, backache, muscle pains fatigue and general malaise.

“Symptomatic care for influenza involves rest, fever control with acetaminophen-containing medication or ibuprofen, rehydration with fluids and comfort measures.

“To avoid contracting or spreading the flu, follow the following protection measures: wash your hands well and often, keep your hands away from your face, cover your cough, avoid crowds, and stay away from school or work if unwell. It is important to protect vulnerable family or household members if you are unwell.

“Per routine surveillance protocols, trends are being actively monitored by the ESU and proactive public health response is taking place. This includes additional communications to healthcare providers and to the general public via the media.

“Members of the public who wish to receive influenza vaccinations should contact their physician’s office or attend the Hamilton Health Clinic on Wednesdays from 2 to 4 pm. Immunization Clinics in St George’s and Somerset take place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month.”

For more information on the seasonal influenza situation, you may consult the following websites: or .

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Comments (3)

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  1. Dr. A says:

    In paragraph 4, other key symptoms of Influenza H1N1 are a cough and shortness of breath.

  2. Cow Polly says:

    I just googled it and H1N1 is not Bird flu but Swine flu.

    • sage says:

      Exactly. Why didn’t the E+ S Unit say that in the article?