Increase in Flu-like and acute respiratory illnesses

Fiji recorded an increase in reporting of influenza-like and acute respiratory illnesses since early December, according to health authorities.

Permanent Secretary of Health Dr. James Fong says the increase in numbers is as per the norm. According to the Ministry of Health’s website, the country’s flu season usually runs from January to May/June.

“Influenza lab testing indicates the same trend and that we are now seeing an increase in a type of Influenza A scientifically labelled as FluA/H1 Pdm. This has been isolated in some of the severe cases seen in the 3 major hospitals. Most patients are above the age of 40 and have a number of comorbidities,” Dr Fong said.

The Ministry has since distributed Tamiflu (antiviral medications) stock.

“We are sourcing Flu Vaccine which will be offered to those vulnerable to the severe effects of Influenza and to frontline staff. Surveillance has also been escalated and we await more recent reports to determine ongoing trends. We also working with WHO to increase our stocks of flu testing reagents and consumables.”

Meanwhile, the ministry also recorded a number of severe COVID disease in the current outbreak which started from mid-November.

It is currently on a decreasing trend, but since it started, five deaths had been reported.

“All the deaths occurred in elderly people who presented late and had a number of comorbidities. Consistent with past trends the deaths have occurred toward the tail end of the wave as it does take weeks for the disease to get to the vulnerable and less mobile members of the population.”

As such Dr Fong is echoing calls to the public to ‘stay home’ or ‘wear a face covering’ when going out if feeling unwell, and be mindful of the vulnerable members of the community.

COVID-19 Update

Since the last update on Thursday 19 January, Fiji recorded 12 new cases.

Of the 12 new cases recorded, five cases were recorded in the Central Division and seven cases in the Western Division.

The national 7-day rolling average as of 22nd January is two daily cases.

The Central Division cases constitute 66% of the cumulative total cases nationally, with the Western division making up 28%, 4% in the Northern Division, and 2% in the Eastern Division.

Source: Fiji Ministry of Health
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