Health authorities here have launched an investigation into the deaths of several male adults here during this month and have sought the assistance of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, says although a respiratory cause is suspected, vector borne diseases and other infectious diseases cannot yet be ruled out, as laboratory and other tests are still being processed.
“We have also been in contact with the Pan American Health Organization and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, regarding this situation,” she said in a statement.
“At this point, we wish to remind persons that we are still experiencing increased Flu activity, an unusual pattern for this time of year. Persons with underlying medical conditions, the very young and the elderly, as well as pregnant women, are at increased risk of developing severe complications, and in some cases death, from Flu infection,” Dr. Fredericks-James said.
While the number of people who had died during the month was not given, she said the Flu vaccine is available, free of charge, at all Wellness Centers and can assist in protecting persons from developing severe complications. Dr. Frederick-James said that other types of medication ‘are also available at health facilities and urged people to practice proper health care, such as frequent hand washing and cough etiquette.
“Vector borne diseases such as dengue, leptospirosis and other infectious diseases are also being monitored,” the CMO stated.
“The Caribbean has been placed on a dengue alert and we continue to monitor, as dengue, in its severe form, can cause bleeding and death. Persons are reminded that all potential breeding sites for mosquitoes should be addressed and measures taken to prevent mosquito bites,” she said.
Dr. Fredericks-James advised that persons with worsening symptoms of fever, headache, joint and muscle pains, cough, shortness of breath, generalized weakness, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, or other condition, should be taken to a health facility promptly for treatment.
“Males are especially being advised to seek care early, and not wait for worsening symptoms,” she added.