The Ministry of Health is urging residents of and visitors to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to protect themselves from infectious diseases such as COVID-19, dengue fever, leptospirosis and influenza viruses including influenza A- H1NI (swine flu).
The ministry said on Thursday that there was a notable increase in influenza A – H1NI (swine flu) cases between Dec. 25, 2023 and Jan. 6, 2024.
During that period, there were 32 laboratory confirmed cases.
As of Jan. 6, there was a total of 9,804 confirmed cases of SARS-COV2 in SVG since the outbreak in 2021.
Of that total, 243 cases were confirmed in 2023, with two reported so far in 2024.
“Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are highly contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract that can cause severe illness with life-threatening complications, typically affecting people of all ages and can spread when an infected person coughs and or sneezes,” the ministry said.
The symptoms include high fever (38°C or more), dry cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue.
Other symptoms include chills, aches behind the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Meanwhile, the ministry said that in 2023, SVG recorded 17 cases of dengue fever and 20 cases of leptospirosis.
“These vector-borne diseases did not exceed the normal levels and do not constitute an outbreak,” the ministry said.
Dengue Fever is a mosquito borne viral illness that is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Persons are encouraged to seek early care from their health care providers if they are experiencing fever accompanied with nausea, vomiting, rash or aches and pains (eye pain, typically behind the eyes, muscle, joint, or bone pain).
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease, spread through contaminated fluids from rodents such as rats and mongooses, that affect humans and animals.
Symptoms associated with leptospirosis include, high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and rash. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.
“The Ministry of Health wishes to advise anyone experiencing any of these signs and symptoms to seek medical attention from your district health care team or their private healthcare provider.”
It further advised that testing for influenza, COVID-19, dengue and leptospirosis are available in SVG.
“Strong adherence to and compliance with the treatment protocols given and any other precautionary measures are advised at this time,” the ministry said, adding that it will continue to monitor closely and update the public accordingly.