South African swine flu cases: “No need to panick”

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South Africa says it suspects two cases of swine flu, however, health authorities have said they are confident that SA will be able to handle any cases of swine. This comes after the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases said yesterday that there were no reports of swine flu in the country, despite the growing unease around the world.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases on Wednesday afternoon said the first case, which became known on Monday, involved a woman from the Western Cape who traveled extensively in Mexico earlier this month.

She was in contact with the people there while using trains and buses.
The woman was ill with flu-like symptoms on her return to South Africa on April 24.

Government spokesman Themba Maseko said Cabinet expressed its confidence in the country’s ability to handle swine flu.

He said there is no need to panic. “Our health authorities and all our officials at all ports of entry are ready to handle any cases of the deadly flu”

Mozambique, meanwhile, has placed its ports of entry on high alert and officials are looking out for any incidences of swine flu

Health Minister Ivo Garrido is quoted as saying his ministry is on alert for the disease which has so far killed more than 149 people in Mexico. There are fears that the disease will spread through international travel.

Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs.
Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late autumn and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans.

Other Southern African counties have not publicly commented on the flu.

Health file  The lack of education and political will, poverty, out-moded traditional beliefs, to mention but a few, have been widely blamed for causing severe and sometimes unwarranted health catastrophies of genocidal proportions on the African continent. Child killer diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, water borne diseases, HIV/AIDS, among other preventable ailments have killed millions in their wake. As rightly said by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on May 13, 2000 "More people (...) died of Aids in the past year (1999-2000, ndlr) in Africa than in all the wars on the continent".
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