More H1N1 virus cases expected during winter

05 Jul 2018 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 05 JUL (NAMPA) – Cases of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus are expected to increase at least until winter ends, Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku has said.
The minister made the statement during a media briefing where an update was given on the the H1N1 virus, as well as the Hepatitis E outbreak, here on Thursday.
“Cases peak during the winter season and thus it is expected that there will be people getting ill with flu from this particular strain,” Haufiku explained.
The first confirmed case of H1N1 virus was reported by a private health facility in Windhoek on 22 June, when a six-month-old baby tested positive for the virus.
Haufiku said so far, 16 laboratory confirmed cases and two deaths have been reported.
Meanwhile, since its outbreak in December last year, 147 cases of Hepatitis E have been confirmed and there have been 17 deaths so far.
Haufiku attributed the extensive spread of the outbreak to other parts of the country to cases from mainly Havana and Goreangab in Windhoek, with the least sanitation facilities, spreading to at risk populations.
“The main drivers that were identified for the Windhoek Hepatitis E outbreak include open defecation, poor sanitation and hygiene practices and this calls for behavioural change amongst affected community members,” he said.
The minister also stressed that vandalism and theft of implemented water and sanitation infrastructure are some of the major challenges preventing the effective containment of the Hepatitis E outbreak in Windhoek and other affected regions.
He called on people to refrain from these acts and take care of facilities made available in their communities.
He also urged people to get treatment during the early stages of these illnesses in order to avoid a pile-up at hospitals’ casualty departments.
“Also, please cover your mouths with tissues or handkerchiefs when coughing or sneezing, not with your hands as this could still transmit the viruses through physical contact,” he said.