Safety provisions in place at Guyana’s ports of entry – CMO

T&T swine flu cases

Amid the upsurge of H1N1 cases in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago, which has caused some worry to Guyanese, Chief Medical Officer of the Public Health Ministry, Dr Shamdeo Persaud has advised that the situation was under control, with provisions already in place at arrival ports to monitor passenger activities.

Dr Shamdeo Persaud

Speaking with Guyana Times on Monday, Dr Persaud enunciated that ferry docks and arrival terminals at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and Eugene F Correia International Airport are equipped with a framework which is expected to be implemented for all passengers. This includes the flight declaration being appraised to indicate if such cases enter the country.
“We continue to maintain our port health requirement for all arriving flights and vessels. A person must do the general flight declaration which would give us a fair idea as to any sick person is coming in. Port health department would usually document those cases and follow them up, so those provisions are in place,” said the CMO.
At present, there have not been any reported cases of the virus in Guyana. However, protocols have been established since the last occurrence, to test and treat patients whose conditions are conclusive.
“So far, we haven’t had any positive cases detected here in the last two years…We had H1N1 here before, during the outbreak from Mexico. We have the techniques for sampling and testing for all severe respiratory infection and there are provisions here for protocols for treatment,” the CMO stated.
As of recent, Trinidad and Tobago reported a minimum of 10 cases of the virus, which is commonly known as swine flu.
This confirmation came from the country’s Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh according to a local news agency. He noted that out of the 75,000 H1N1 vaccines available, 14,500 people have been inoculated in the past few weeks.
With the Carnival season soon to approach, the twin-island republic has decided that tourists must acquire the H1N1 vaccine in their respective countries before entering Trinidad. As it relates to citizens, these shots are provided free of cost at health centres.
As it relates to Guyana, the virus was detected back in 2015.
At that time, Dr Persaud confirmed that the person who had the virus was being treated. Measures were also taken to vaccinate doctors and other medical personnel who were treating the sick man.
Initial reports were that the man had travelled from China to Guyana via the United States, but in-transited briefly in Trinidad.
After falling ill, he was admitted to a private city hospital where he remained for over two weeks before being flown to the USA. During that period, blood samples were sent to neighbouring Trinidad for testing. Those results were returned to Guyana with confirmation that the man had indeed contracted the deadly virus.
Former Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton was quoted in the media as saying that Guyana has the ability to detect and manage the virus. He had said that while Guyana could not prevent the virus from spreading to its shores, the two main ports of entry – Cheddi Jagan and Ogle International Airports – are on the alert and staff members were mandated to report anyone who showed symptoms of the disease.
By that time, Trinidad had confirmed a total of 42 cases with four deaths as a result of the virus.
Among the symptoms for H1N1 are chills, fever, coughing, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, and diarrhoea. This flu can also lead to more serious problems, including pneumonia – a lung infection – and other breathing problems.