The H1N1 Virus is yet again doing its rounds. This follows the tragedy which struck a family from Pietermaritzburg, with the death of their nine-year-old child, Giselle Chetty.
The Grade 3 pupil from Deccan Road Primary was laid to rest on Monday, July 21, after succumbing to the H1N1 virus, more commonly known as, Swine Flu. Her two-year-old brother is allegedly critical and with the same virus.
Since her sudden passing, Deccan Road Primary has confirmed another learner was admitted to hospital with the same illness.
In an attempt to create awareness about Swine Flu, the school has released a circular, informing parents on precautionary measures the school is undertaking to minimise the chances of other children contracting the dreaded virus.
Furthermore, the circular also educates parents on the symptoms which the virus displays. These include:
High temperatures and vomiting
Headaches and a runny nose
Sore throat and a cough
Chills and body aches
Nose bleeds and any other form of irregular bleeding
Swine Flu first made headlines in South Africa in 2009, when it affected several South Africans, some of which died due to the illness. The first reported death of the H1N1 virus was reported on June 18.
Following the H1N1 becoming a pandemic in 2009, the World Health Organisation (WHO) explained the pandemic H1N1 virus is spread from person to person, similar to seasonal influenza viruses.
The virus is transmitted in the same way as the normal seasonal flu and can be passed to other people by exposure to infected droplets, expelled by coughing or sneezing which can be inhaled, or can contaminate hands or surfaces.
To prevent the spread of the virus, people who are ill should cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, stay home when they are unwell, clean their hands regularly, and keep some distance from healthy people.
Monitoring the situation is the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, which monitors the influenza season through its respective surveillance programmes.
While transmission of influenza has reached high levels in the Viral Watch programme, it does not seem that there is an outbreak of Swine Flu at present.
However, people are encouraged to seek medical assistance immediately if they do display any of the symptoms pertaining to H1N1.