Health and Disaster Management Officials confirm that there are no cases of Swine Flu/Influenza A in the Virgin Islands. The Territory remains on high alert for the possible growth of this outbreak to the level of a Pandemic and is taking all necessary measures to safeguard the population.  The WHO pandemic phase remains at 5.

In a release issued yesterday the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) confirmed that, at present, there are no cases of Influenza A (H1N1) in any of its member countries, including the Virgin Islands, however specimens are being received from suspected cases, that is, persons who present flu-like symptoms. To date confirmed cases of the Influenza A have been reported in Mexico, USA, Canada, Spain, UK, Germany, New Zealand, Israel, Austria, Netherlands, Peru, Denmark, Hong Kong, Costa Rica and Switzerland.

“All appropriate precautionary measures are being taken within the health sector to ensure that persons who have flu like symptoms are screened and tested.  Some stocks of the antiviral Tamiflu are available in the Territory and the BVI Health Services Authority has been able to source additional stocks and orders have been placed to have these available on island by shortly” said Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ronald Georges.    Tamiflu is used to prevent and to treat some kinds of influenza or the flu.  Swine Flu, or Influenza A H1N1, as it is now being called has been responding well to this antiviral agent.

“Surveillance has been heightened at all ports of entry throughout the Territory.  All agencies are working together to ensure that these measures are implemented properly and with due consideration to our visitors and residents who pass through these areas.  The Government will continue to provide the public with the necessary measures that needs to be taken to ensure that persons practice proper hand washing and respiratory hygiene.  All information is being made available to the public via posters, flyers, brochures and through the print and electronic media.  It is important that residents become familiar with the material and information in circulation and continue to monitor the spread of the epidemic,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Irad Potter.

The public is being reminded that Influenza A is not transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork or other products derived from pigs.