RHINOVIRUS and Influenza H3 are the main drivers of the current outbreak of flu-like illness in Honiara and Malaita Province, the Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr. Culwick Togamana announced in his special nation-wide address yesterday.
He said during the week from 25 to 30 July, the National Public Health Surveillance Unit has recorded 234 cases of Influenza or flu-like illness in Honiara and Malaita, and from 1 to 7 August, the number of cases increased to 803.
In Malaita, Atoifi hospital recorded an increase of 223 cases and Auki clinic an increase of 363 cases, whilst in Honiara, the National Referral Hospital (NRH) recorded an increase of 264 cases, Kukum clinic, 113 cases and Rove clinic 387 cases.
Dr Togamana said 72 percent of the total admission rate at the National Referral Hospital Emergency Department in the past 24 hours were respiratory cases involving both adults and children.
“This includes 68 adults and 26 children.”
“Our doctors, including paediatricians, are working hard to provide treatment and care to the 5 paediatric inpatients admitted with flu-like symptoms.
“Most of the cases presented to our health facilities involved babies and children. Now we are also seeing an influx of adults with flu-like illnesses.
“Symptoms include, flue or runny nose, coughing, fever, Nausea or vomiting, headache and shortness of breath or ‘short wind’ as commonly known in Solomon Islands pidgin,” Dr Togamana said.
He said samples collected from patients by Laboratory Technicians at the National Referral Hospital were discovered to be multiple respiratory viruses with Rhinovirus and influenza H3 as the main drivers of the outbreak.
He warned that there is a high risk that it will spread to all other provinces due to ongoing inter-island travels and as such advised the public to adhere to public health safety measures at all times.
These public health safety measures include wearing of masks, practicing handwashing, maintaining social distancing, avoiding large public gatherings, avoiding visitations and maintaining personal hygiene at all times.
Dr Togamana said those experiencing flu-like symptoms are advised to drink plenty water and take Panadols.
But he said if fever persists for any adult, children and babies, they should be taken to be seen by doctors at any nearest health facility.
By FOLLET JOHN
Solomon Star, Honiara