Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nigeria records first swine flu death

The Federal Ministry of Health yesterday warned the public to beware of the deadly HINI Influenza virus, commonly known as Swine flu, as Nigeria has officially recorded its first death from the pandemic.

Before the latest case, there was a suspected Swine Flu death in December last year but the victim had died before samples could be collected, according to the ministry.

A statement signed by the Special Assistant (Communica-tion) to the Minister of Health, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, advised people with associated symptoms to go for medical check-up without delay.

Giving an update on the incidence of the H1N1 Influenza, he said as at January 18, 2010, Nigeria had recorded 11 laboratory confirmed cases.

Last year, a nine-year-old American girl had the flu sometime last year but she later recovered.

The most recent case was that of a 38-year-old woman from Bayelsa State living in Lagos who tested positive, according to the Ministry of Health.

She was said to have travelled to the US about three months ago. She fell sick six weeks ago and died on Tuesday, January 5, at a hospital in Lagos.

He explained that the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Health had collected samples from the index case and her contacts for further investigation.

Eight out of the 40 samples of close contacts collected were found to have tested positive to Influenza H1N1.

This, he noted, had prompted a meeting of Epidemiologists of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) along with the World Health Organisation (WHO) States' Surveillance Officers during which vaccine deployment plan was discussed among other important issues.

Ojuolape said enhanced disease surveillance including active case search in some designated health facilities is currently on in all the states of the federation and FCT.

He also said all documentation for the donation of Influenza H1N1 vaccine to the country including vaccine deployment plan had been completed and forwarded to WHO headquaters in Geneva.

In addition, the government is putting together all the required processes for the deployment of the vaccines, he explained.

Swine flu has flu-like symptoms such as coughing, lack of appetite, fever, running nose, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throats among others.

It is highly contagious and is believed to have killed thousands across the world.

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