Thursday, April 30, 2009
Swine Flu Activities
April 30, 2009
The General Public is reminded of the postponement of all major public gatherings including the following:
*Morgan Heritage Musical Concert, Belize City,
*The University of Belize Fundraising Event – Spring Fling 2009, Belmopan
*National Agriculture and Trade Show, Belmopan
*Cashew Fest, Crooked Tree
*Hermanos Ponce Circus, Belize City.
A Press Conference is being held this morning at 9 am with the objective of informing the public about the decision.
Central Health Region Epidemiologist reported there is a total of 9 “cases of interest” being followed up. In most cases there is an apparent connection with Mexico by having traveled there or of being in contact with someone who went there.
Information on general hygiene and specific measures to prevent infection with Swine Flu continues by Ministry of Health Personnel.
It has been reiterated that the closing of borders is not recommended as it is not recommended by International Health Regulations. Surveillance and screening of visitors at the northern and western border continues.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships Company issued a press release indicating its temporary suspension of port calls in Mexico. The company indicates that it has implemented the Influenza Prevention and Response Plan developed with experts from US CDC and its Medical and Public Health Office.
The Ministry of Health has established a Hot Line for the public and the number is:
629 5604 and will be handled by Nurse Augustina Eligio, stationed at MOH HQ.
No. of Cases in Neighboring Countries
Of the suspected cases in Quintana Roo only 2 turned out as probable cases being positive for a Type A virus test. However these still have not been confirmed as Swine Flu.
Guatemala has tested 14 suspected cases and ALL HAVE BEEN NEGATIVE.
A meeting is scheduled with the Ministry of Education for today at 11:00 am to discuss the PSE examinations for Monday, May 4, 2009.
Fall in flu cases in Mexico over past few hours: Health Secretary
27 April 2009
At 20:30 hrs on Monday 27th, Health Secretary José Ángel Córdova Villalobos held a joint press conference with Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Javier Lozano Alarcón, Secretary for Labor and Social Welfare; Dr. Philippe Lamy, representative of PAHO/WHO in Mexico; Guillermo Ruiz Palacios, head of the infectology department of the Salvador Zubirán National Medical Science and Nutrition Institute; and Miguel Ángel Lezana Fernández, Director General of the National Center for Epidemiological Monitoring and Disease Control.
The Health Secretary reported that the World Health Organization alert level had been raised to phase four due to outbreaks of swine flu infection in the United States and Canada. He also underscored the WHO’s recommendations to keep borders open and not to restrict international travel. The Health Secretary expressed his condolences and solidarity toward all those families who have lost loved ones during this epidemic.
The Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare then explained that economic activities and jobs will continue during the contingency phase, and he asked employers and business-owners to maintain fluid and flexible labor relations with their workers, particularly pregnant women and nursing mothers.
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs noted that according to the WHO recommendations, Mexico’s borders should not be closed, and so crossings by people and goods are subject to no restrictions. She explained that the positive aspect of the step-up to phase four was that it would allow the consolidation and strengthening of the WHO’s capacities in the areas of international cooperation, medicine supplies, and coordinated action with governments, should that become necessary.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Ministry of Health
Belmopan, April 29, 2009. In light of the ongoing global epidemic of Swine Flu, the World Health Organization has raised the level of alert to Phase 5. This means that the virus has caused sustained community level outbreaks in two or more countries in one World Health Organization Region.
With the underlying principle of preventing any potential transmission of Swine Flu in the country of Belize, the Ministry of Health through the Director of Health Services, in accordance with Section 83 of the Public Health Act, has issued a directive to postpone all major public gatherings until further notice.
This includes the following events:
· The Annual General Meeting of the Holy Redeemer Credit Union Belize City
· Morgan Heritage Musical Concert, Belize City
· The University of Belize Fundraising Event – Spring Fling 2009, Belmopan
· National Agriculture and Trade Show, Belmopan
· Cashew Fest, Crooked Tree
· Hermanos Ponce Circus, Belize City
We ask that organizers and the general public adhere to this public health notice.
The Ministry of Health has established a Hot Line for the public from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm. the number is 629-5604 and will be handled by Nurse Augustina Eligio, stationed at MOH HQ.
Number of Cases in Belize
Blood samples have been sent to CAREC Trinidad today from suspected cases from: San Pedro Ambergris Caye (1), Belize City (2) and Orange Walk (1)
To date 7 countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases.
The Ministry of Health is working closely with the Pan American Health Organization and will keep the public updated as to the development of events in regards to the outbreak in Mexico and USA.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
For ten years, Gua saved his money, “That is why I no married, I no drink, I no smoke, I no dance,” he commented. With all his traveling, Gua has filled a total of eight Chinese passports and has a long list of visas under his belt.
Monday, April 27, 2009
One of the many surprises is having International Sensation Cristian Castro as this year's Saturday headliner.
Cristian Castro (born Cristian Sáenz Castro or Cristian Valdez on December 8th, 1974 in Mexico City) is a Grammy Award nominated Mexican pop singer. He is referred to as "Christian Castro", "Cristian", or "El Gallito Feliz" (The Happy Little Rooster). The son of renowned actress and singer Veronica Castro and comedian Manuel "El Loco" Valdes, Crisitan, as a baby, made his acting debut with the telenovela named El Derecho de Nacer. Soon after, he appeared on a television commercial with Veronica and on the Mexican version of the broadway show Mame alongside the prominent actress Silvia Pinal.
Castro is one of the best selling Latin artists and has worked with some of the world's best producers including Kike Santander and Richard Daniel Roman.
Some of his greatest hits include: Vuelveme a querer, Azul, Por Amarte Asi, and Morelia.
Even though there has been no official word from the Government of Belize, since Saturday April 25th, the Border Management Agency at the northern border has made the first step in disbursing surgical masks for all employees at the Santa Elena Border in Corozal. In addition, a health post has been temporarily set up at the Corozal Free Zone where authorities are screening visitors and encouraging the use of surgical masks.
Workers at the Corozal Free Zone using surgical mask
What is Swine Influenza? Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.
Can humans catch swine flu? YES! Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs. Beside the one case in the US 1n 1988, swine flu was first suspected in February of 2009 with 12 cases mostly in Mexico.
Can people catch swine flu from eating pork? No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products are safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans? There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to all four drugs, the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.
- Deaths: 149 suspected, all in Mexico.
- Sickened: Nearly 2,000 in Mexico, suspected or confirmed; 40 confirmed in U.S.; 13 suspected in New Zealand; 6 confirmed in Canada; 7 suspected in Spain; 1 suspected in France; 1 suspected in Israel.
- Locations in Mexico: 17 states, including Mexico City, Mexico State, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Baja California and San Luis Potosi. Some, including Oaxaca, Mexico City and Baja California, have tourist areas, but authorities have not said where in these states the outbreaks occurred.
- Locations in U.S.: California, Kansas, New York, Ohio and Texas.
- In the US, roughly 12 million doses of Tamiflu are being moved from federal stockpile for delivery to states. Travelers at the borders are being asked about travel to flu-stricken areas.
Today, Monday April 27th, the Government of the Republic of Mexico announced the closure of all schools throughout the country until a further announcement which is due on May 6th. Surgical masks are being given away on the subway system, airports, bus terminals, public events canceled, schools and public venues closed and church services postponed.
In Guatemala, the authorities yesterday listed the country as being under alert and are distributing surgical masked. In Jamaica, the government has place the country on alert over the possible outbreak of swine flu.
The World Health Organization has declared the swine flu outbreak in North America a "public health emergency of international concern."
The decision means countries around the world will be asked to step up reporting and surveillance of the disease. WHO fears the outbreak could spread to other countries and is calling for a coordinated response to contain it.