A local doctor confirmed to South Coast Herald on Wednesday that there had been nine cases of H1N1/H1N3 (more commonly known as swine flu) diagnosed at the MD24 practice in Shelly Beach.
“This was definitely a spike in the number as we had only one confirmed case at the end of June,” said Dr Alstynn Kenneth Pillay.
Dr Pillay outlined that general symptoms of swine flu included fever, cough, sore throat, chills, and body aches.
“In addition, some people may experience muscle pain, a dry cough, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, headaches and shortness of breath.”
He advised that anyone – especially children – displaying any of these symptoms should seek medical attention at the earliest opportunity.
“Don’t go to work or send your children to school. It is vital to contain the virus which is easily spread via droplets through cough, sneeze, or touch,” he warned.
Treatment included pain relievers, rest and plenty of fluids, while antiviral drugs, cough mixture, decongestants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may be prescribed.
In a statement released last week, KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu called for calm following confirmation of H1N1 cases in Pietermaritzburg.
“We wish to reiterate at this point that this does not constitute an ‘outbreak’ as has been erroneously reported,” she said.
She added that the influenza A (H1N1) virus, which appeared for the first time in 2009 causing a global influenza pandemic, is now a seasonal influenza virus that becomes prevalent in winter, and co-circulates with other seasonal viruses.
“It is neither a notifiable nor a reportable disease, and is thus being treated as a normal flu.”
Simelane-Zulu said parents were advised to be on the look-out for signs of severe influenza.
She confirmed that the department had issued a notice to health facilities across the province to ensure that they were on the lookout for severe types of influenza, and would treat these with urgency.
“If influenza is treated on time and treated correctly, it need not have any devastating results.”