The Epidemiology Department of the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Religious Affairs is closely monitoring an active outbreak of Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) in the country.
Based on its most recent laboratory testing conducted on September 27, 2022, the cause of this outbreak is linked to the Influenza A virus subtype H3N2 or (AH3N2), Rhinovirus and Adenovirus. Confirmatory testing was done by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which is based in Trinidad and Tobago.
Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shawn Charles stated that the Influenza A H3N2 virus is very contagious and can cause severe illness especially in patients who are very young or old or have chronic underlying medical conditions.
The main symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infections are congestion, runny nose, fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue. As a result Dr. Charles advises that the public, including persons caring for sick persons and sick persons themselves should practice personal hygiene that is known to be effective in preventing Acute Respiratory Infection.
They include, but are not limited to:
Washing hands frequently, especially after being in a public place or caring for sick people.
Always sneeze or cough into a tissue or the bend of your elbow. Dispose of the used tissue in a bin and wash or sanitize hands afterwards.
Avoid touching your face, especially eyes and mouth, to prevent introducing germs into your body.
Regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces with soap and water or a disinfectant.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Religious Affairs encourages the public to take note and take all the necessary hygienic measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.