2 more suspected swine flu deaths

If health officials confirm these two cases the death toll from swine flu, medically referred to as Influenza A/H1N1, will rise to four.

Sources said one of the patients died on Wednesday night and the other yesterday morning.

Health Minister Jerry Narace yesterday said a statement will be issued once there is confirmation of any new deaths due to the virus.

On Wednesday, Narace disclosed two men died of swine flu at the hospital the day before.

Tests were being done to determine if a third patient had died from swine flu. The results are yet to be released. However, Newsday sources identified the patient as a woman from Princes Town and yesterday her family reported she died from pneumonia.

Marina Jattan said an autopsy on her mother Cynthia Jattan, 42, confirmed she died from pneumonia and not swine flu.

“There was nothing about swine flu on the death certificate. Doctors told me that tests came back negative,” Jattan told Newsday.

Jattan was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital on Monday with high fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and although doctors attempted to aid Jattan’s breathing by inserting a tube into her lungs her condition worsened and she died on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Cumberbatch said the hospital had been sanitised and masks and gloves were given to staff. The Ambulance Bay was placed on a two-day quarantine which was lifted yesterday. Ambulances once more parked at the stations and attendants wore masks, gloves and coveralls for protection. Security guards and persons visiting the hospital also wore masks.

Responding to Narace’s disclosure that 260,000 doses of the swine flu vaccine would arrive in the country next month, secretary general of the Medical Professionals Association (MPATT) Balkaran Ramkissoon yesterday advised the “efficacy of the vaccine is limited” and may have side effects.

“The vaccine may only result in reduced symptoms in some persons. Accordingly, in spite of a vaccine being available and the public being immunized, severe illness may still be caused by the swine flu virus,” Ramkissoon said in a release.

Ramkissoon said there is a need for proper clinical management which includes intensive care and he warned public health institutions may fail to adequately address a swine flu outbreak.

However, staff at several health centres which Newsday contacted said they were prepared to treat cases of the virus and information campaigns are still underway to combat its spread.


"2 more suspected swine flu deaths"

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