The Ministry of Health has noted the announcement of an outbreak of H1N1 Influenza commonly known as Swine Flu in the islands of St. Vincent and Barbados.

Based on review of surveillance data from the Health Information Unit, the Ministry wishes to inform the general public that there are no confirmed cases and no outbreak of Swine Flu in Dominica at present.

In light of the outbreak in neighbouring islands, the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely and wishes to assure the public that all systems for response to influenza cases are in place.

However, the Ministry would like to remind the public to practice good personal hygiene to protect themselves and others from acquiring the influenza (flu) virus.

Symptoms of the Influenza virus include: Sudden high fever (over 38°C or 100°F), sore throat, • Runny or stuffy nose, coughing, • Headache, body aches and fatigue

Persons experiencing Influenza-like symptoms and any signs of faintness, weakness or breathing difficulty should seek medical attention immediately.

The most common method of transmission of the influenza (flu) virus is through droplets released into the air from the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. This can happen when droplets are inhaled directly by people nearby. Some droplets containing the virus also fall on hard surfaces (like desks, tables, phones and door knobs). People get infected when they touch these surfaces and then touch their eyes, mouth or nose.

Here are some of the things you can do to protect yourself and others from getting the Flu:- • Wash your hands with soap and water more now than usual; • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizers and rub your hands together very hard for a minute or more; • Avoid shaking hands and kissing; • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
• Throw away soiled tissue in a garbage bin after single use; • Avoid touching your face if your hands are not clean because cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose and mouth; • If you are sick, stay away from crowds, young children and very elderly persons • Drink a lot of fluids, juice, water, coconut water and soups;

The Ministry of Health will keep the public informed of any new developments.