Local microbiologist Dr Madeleine Pieters explained that no cases of Swine Flu infection have been reported in Bloemfontein. This comes after reports this morning that a learner at a local crèche has allegedly been diagnosed with Swine Flu. This caused hysteria as parents were concerned about the health of their children at schools.
“Presently we have the normal seasonal Influenza. We do not have an outbreak of anything so there is no Swine Flu. Two years ago we had H1N1 which we call Swine Flu,” said Dr Pieters.
“We have seen quite a few incidences of Influenza-A and this specific subspecies is H3N2. This is totally expected for this time of the year and we have seen quite a few children and people who have not been immunised with it,” she explained.
Dr Pieters explained that the H1N1 strain of Swine Flu is preventable through the common flu vaccine. She urged people who are most at risk of contracting flu to get immunised against its infection.
“If you are pregnant or elderly then you need to get vaccinated. If you have not yet it is not too late to get a vaccination. People who feel feverish or unwell should see their General Practitioner,” said the medical specialist.
Jaco Deacon of the Fichardt Park Primary School governing body explained that over 50 learners have been off sick since the flu virus has been doing the rounds.
“We cannot confirm that there is Swine Flu but with the flu epidemic that has taken place in Bloemfontein we have taken certain precautionary measures at the school. We have asked parents that if their children show symptoms they should rather go to the doctor and keep them out of school to be safe,” said Deacon.
Deacon expressed that the school distributes hand sanitiser and there are rules on contact between learners and teachers as preventative measures.
Department of Health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi explained that if there were an outbreak of Swine Flu any diagnosis would have to be certified by the Centre for Disease Control through lab results. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele