27 June 2019

Namibia: Seven Cases of H1n1 Flu Confirmed

Photo: Nampa
Namibia Health Executive Director Ben Nangombe.

Seven cases of H1N1 influenza (swine flu) have been confirmed in Windhoek, with four patients hospitalised, health executive director Ben Nangombe said yesterday.

This follows a report by The Namibian of two cases of swine flu, which he said were reclassified as seasonal influenza by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2009.

The Namibian reported that a staff member of the Namibia Health Plan (NHP) and her entire family were diagnosed with 'swine flu', while a pupil at the Roman Catholic Church-run Hildegard kindergarten and pre-school was also diagnosed with the disease.

"On 25 June, a confirmed case of influenza A H1N1 was reported by a private health facility in Windhoek. So far, seven laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported," said the executive director.

The country experienced an outbreak in 2009 and 2010 when more than 8 000 cases were reported, with suspected 102 testing positive and one death reported.

Nangombe said the flu is seasonal and peaks all around the world during winter, which means more people may get ill from flu.

"There is no swine flu outbreak in Namibia, but rather an increase in seasonal influenza A H1N1 cases. We count on the full cooperation and understanding of the public.

"People exhibiting signs and symptoms of the disease should have bed rest, take plenty of fluids, and manage the fever and cough with over-the-counter medication. Seek medical attention only if you have a severe flu-like illness, and if infected, limit contact with other people to prevent the spread of the infection," urged Nangombe.

He said 106 confirmed cases of H1N1 were reported countrywide last year, with two deaths.

At the time, the unaffected regions were Oshikoto, Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango East and West as well as //Kharas.

Abigail Raubenheimer, NHP's manager for marketing and communications confirmed the case, saying the affected staff member is working in a secluded area. She added that the staff member and her family were diagnosed with 'swine flu'.

Raubenheimer said those who worked in the same department were sent for testing, and those who exhibited symptoms were told not to come to work until a confirmation of their health status.

The pre-school and kindergarten's head, sister Dagmar OSB, had also taken safety measures by giving children who had flu symptoms three days off until yesterday.

The kindergarten and pre-school are expected to open again today.

H1N1 influenza patients exhibit symptoms such as red eyes, vomiting, runny and stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, high temperature and diarrhoea, as well as fatigue.

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