Saint Lucia authorities are investigating two flu-related deaths amid an increase in flu cases on the Island, it has been announced.
“We have been investigating two cases which are influenza related in males – two unusual deaths that are related to the flu, which is quite unusual for us in Saint Lucia and more so at this time of the year,” says Medical Officer of Health, Doctor Sharon Belmar-George.
The Saint Lucia health official made the disclosure during an interview this week with Fernelle Neptune of the Government Information Service (GIS).
“When we review the cases at our health care facilities, cases seem to be a little more intense – a little bit unusual as to what we usually see on a regular basis,” Belmar-George observed.
The Medical Officer of Health stated that the flu season in Saint Lucia is usually between October to March and peaks in December.
She explained that usually, Saint Lucia health officials start seeing increases in flu cases from October.
But the senior health official revealed that during January, February and March, the cases usually ‘taper off’.
However she told the GIS that from 2018, Saint Lucia health officials noted increases during December and the cases have continued to climb with a marked increase in March this year.
“Between week 7 and 8 of 2019 we noted that the cases have gone even above our usual threshold both in under 5 years and over 5 years old and the flu seems to be more intense,” Belmar-George stated.
Just last week, Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Merlene Fredericks-James, advised that 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.
She explained that the Flu vaccine is available, free of charge, at all Wellness Centers and can assist is protecting persons from developing severe complications.
Fredericks-James observed that the medication ‘Tamiflu’ and other treatments are also available at our health facilities.
She said frequent hand washing and ‘cough etiquette’ should also be practiced.