129 Swine flu cases reported in Gauteng
Jun 13, 2011 11:56 PM | By NIVASHNI NAIR and HARRIET MCLEA
More than 200 South Africans are being treated for swine flu, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said yesterday. The institute's spokesman, Nombuso Shabalala, said 129 of the 202 patients were in Gauteng.
But Shabalala said the outbreak was not a pandemic.
"It is not a pandemic like it was in 2009 and there was no vaccine then. Now there is a vaccine which is easily available and will act as a protection against the flu," she said.
In 2009, swine flu claimed the lives of at least 91 South Africans, a third of them pregnant women.
Shabalala said after the pandemic status was lifted, hospitals and doctors were no longer obliged to report swine flu infections to the institute.
"We now collect the information on our own."
The institute's surveillance data, which was updated yesterday, showed that there were no cases in KwaZulu-Natal.
But a Pietermaritzburg private hospital said yesterday that it had treated six patients for swine flu since May 27.
Three patients have been discharged; three are in a stable condition.
Eight cases of mumps and six cases of swine flu were reported at The King's School, in Linbro Park, Johannesburg.
But only one Grade 7 girl, who had swine flu, was hospitalised last week. She has recovered and is now back at school writing exams.
The small, private school sent letters to parents on Thursday notifying them that the school would be closed until next Monday in an attempt to "try to break the cycle" and encouraged parents to ensure that their children received flu vaccine.
The school has had a 25% absenteeism rate.
The letter to parents emphasised that "there is no need to panic or to raise the situation to one of fearfulness" but it encouraged each pupil to bring a packet of anti-bacterial wet-wipes with which to clean their hands regularly.
The principal's personal assistant, Alison Jacobs, said: "Because we've got a short week we thought that it was the ideal time to [close] as a precaution."
Spokesman for the Health Department Fidel Hadebe urged the public to be vaccinated against flu.
Pregnant women, people with chronic health problems, such as diabetes, kidney disease and respiratory ailments, and young children, are in the high-risk group.
"If you are feeling fluey, get treatment and stay at home so you can recover and not infect other people," Radebe said. http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/articl ... in-Gauteng