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Friday 6 December 2019
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Eight more flu deaths take toll to 24

THE HEALTH Ministry has reported eight more flu deaths and more than 180 new suspected cases.

The ministry in a media release reported that as at Friday November 29 the number of confirmed influenza deaths for this flu season is 24, an increase of eight over the figure of 16 from the report as at Friday November 22. The number of suspected influenza cases for the year is 2,919, an increase of 181 compared to the previous week's figure of 2,738.

The ministry also reported the cumulative number of vaccines administered to the public for this flu season was 24,797, an increase of almost 8,500 compared to the previous week's figure of 16,301.

The ministry in its release reiterated that it has engaged in a robust, nation-wide Influenza Vaccination Drive for the 2020 Flu Season (October 2019 to May 2020) and the campaign has been implemented to protect the population against the influenza (flu) virus.

The ministry also reiterated that the influenza virus is serious and is generally more severe than the common cold and that the flu vaccine is available, at no cost, at all health centres. People in the following groups are particularly vulnerable to the virus and are urged to get the flu vaccine: children aged six months to five years; pregnant women; adults over 65; people with chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes mellitus); and people with chronic respiratory illnesses (such as asthma). People in the health care workforce and essential services are also encouraged to get the flu vaccine. Members of the public are advised to contact their nearest health centre to confirm the dates and times that vaccines are distributed.

The ministry advised all citizens to take the following necessary personal health precautions to protect themselves and their families from the influenza virus and other diseases:

* Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub

* Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way

* Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs

* Where possible, avoid close contact with sick people

*While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them

* Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. After using a tissue, throw it in the bin and wash hands thoroughly

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