Concerns regarding the recent increase in respiratory illnesses |14 November 2023
Public advised to be more vigilant and wear mask whenever necessary
The Ministry of Health said that due to the recent increase in respiratory illnesses it was imperative that Infection Prevention and Control measures (IPC) are stepped up in all health facilities, especially in the clinical settings.
This includes the proper wearing of face mask by all persons in or entering a clinical care setting.
The public is also being advised to refrain from going into public places if they have any respiratory symptoms and to consult their health care provider for assessment and advice.
Yesterday, Dr Josapha Jouanneau and Dr Isha Barreau met with the press to shed more light on the infections. They explained that the infectious diseases encompass flu-like illnesses, Covid-19, and tuberculosis.
“Some organisations are expressing apprehension, and within the Ministry of Health, we have observed a rise in respiratory conditions. These infections, primarily viral, affect the nose and throat, resulting in common cold symptoms. We have also observed an uptick in tuberculosis and Covid-19 admissions,” explained Dr Jouanneau.
According to the Ministry of Health, the attack rate of influenza has surpassed the epidemic threshold in recent weeks for both adults and children. This surge has led to an increased incidence of pneumonia admissions.
Dr Jouanneau stated that measures have been implemented, such as the mandatory wearing of face masks in clinical care settings. He emphasised, “The public is advised to avoid close contact with symptomatic individuals, maintain hand hygiene, and practice proper hygiene.”
Another measure taken by the health ministry is through sentinel testing, where a random sample of individuals from the community is selected for flu and this will determine what type of illnesses the ministry was dealing with.
“Just to have an idea, the tuberculosis rate last year was 18 compared to 23 for the same period this year,” shared Dr Jouanneau.
Speaking about the number of patients at the Beau Vallon health centre, Dr Barreau noted that there was an increase of patients. “We are advising clients with flu symptoms, diarrhea and vomiting to please come to the clinic. All have to take the necessary precautions and go back to what we learnt from Covid-19. Most of us work in closed areas and we advise the supervisors to check on their employees. If they have the above symptoms, ask them not to come to work to prevent infection of others.”
Dr Barreau also spoke about the importance of being hydrated and also taking lots of vitamin C. It is also important to note that there have been some cases of pneumonia, where the patients have been admitted to the hospital for treatment. The Beau Vallon health centre has re-introduced appointments so as to prevent a big group of people congregating.
Photos: Joena Meme