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Oct 3, 2013

H1N1 (swine flu) reported in Belize

Jorge Polanco

Since the beginning of the year, there has been a number of cases of the influenza A virus reported across the country.  Fortunately there have been no deaths attributed to the H1N1 virus in Belize.  Earlier this week however, Barbados reported one casualty of H1N1, prompting local authorities here to look more carefully at the potential impact of the virus.  Acting Director of Health Services, Dr. Jorge Polanco, tells News Five that they have been closely monitoring reports of the virus since January and that the Ministry of Health is active in educating the public about the symptoms of the flu-like illness.


Dr. Jorge Polanco, Acting Director of Health Services

“There was a news item on Monday whereby Barbados made reference of four cases, of which one unfortunately died.  In Belize, from January to now, we’ve had a few cases.  We’ve had a little over ten cases that were confirmed as H1N1.  The total samples that were sent from suspected cases that the physician thought could have been H1N1 is about a hundred and twenty-two cases since January.  We must say that this falls within a very specific surveillance system that the Ministry of Health has.  We have that in place since 2010 whereby all the healthcare facilities throughout the country participate in screening anybody who presents himself or herself to any health facility which shows signs and symptoms of influenza.  A swabbed test would be taken from the nose, from the throat and it would be tested for H1N1.  We must say that in regards to patients who are hospitalized the policy is that everyone should be tested.  At the level of outpatient we only have Cleopatra White Health Center here in Belize City that is participating as a sentinel site.  So they would also send samples, but as I said, from January to now we have had no deaths, a little over ten cases.  It must also be noted that most of the cases would present with very mild signs and symptoms so they would perhaps not go to a health center or for some reason would not have a test taken, a swab test taken.  But the important thing is that we are aware, we have a very specific surveillance system and what the public should know is that this influenza disease is caused by a virus.  The influenza virus is transmitted from person to person through contacts of items that are contaminated.”


In 2009, there was fear of an epidemic of H1N1 in Belize which sent the Ministry of Health and the public into a frenzy.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “H1N1 (swine flu) reported in Belize”

  1. Aware Mind says:

    This diseases originated in Asia, that’s all I have to say.

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