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Monday 27 January 2020
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H1N1 deaths rise to 32

The number of confirmed deaths from the influenza virus has been confirmed as 32, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

The ministry has been engaged in an island-wide campaign aimed at sensitising the public about the influenza virus and encouraging citizens to get vaccinated. The virus is much more serious than the common flu and the vaccine is available at all health centres, free of charge.

The 2020 official flu season is from October 2019 to May 2020, and citizens are advised to get vaccinated every year as the virus can mutate and the vaccine may not be able to stave off the new strain.

The ministry reported that 33,101 people have already received the vaccine this season, with 3232 suspected cases for the year.

Those who are particularly vulnerable to the virus include children aged six months to five years; pregnant women; adults over 65; people with chronic medical conditions; and chronic respiratory disease. Health care workers are also encouraged to get the vaccine.

To limit the risk of infection, people were encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand wash. They were advised to not touch their eyes, nose and mouth as germs were easily spread this way. Areas that may be contaminated should be disinfected and close contact with sick people should be avoided.

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