There have been two swine flu deaths in Tobago this year.
Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Dr Agatha Carrington told Newsday this in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Without giving the dates, she said these deaths were recorded several weeks ago.
People in Tobago are being vaccinated, she said, adding that of the 3,000 doses sent to Tobago, approximately 950 have been dispensed. She said most of those vaccinated are health workers.
The Ministry of Health said the number of confirmed deaths from the H1N1 virus this flu season is 32.
In a press release, the ministry gave guidelines against contracting the swine flu.
– Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
– 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 your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the bin and wash your hands.
The ministry has been running a campaign sensitising the public to the influenza virus and encouraging people 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 official flu season is from October 2019-May 2020, and people 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 had the vaccine this season, with 3,232 suspected cases for the year.
It says children between six months and five years, pregnant women and adults over 65 and people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma should take extra precautionss.
Last Sunday, Tobago calypsonian Henson Wright, father of national long jumper Andwuelle Wright, died after having the flu and complaining of feeling “a bit off”.
Wright, known as Calypso Prince, was a three-time Tobago Calypso Monarch champ and participant at the Magnificent Glow Calypso Tent.
Newsday was told that on Saturday, Wright developed a fever and was found unconscious by his girlfriend. He died on Sunday morning at the Scarborough General Hospital.
It has not yet been determined whether Wright's death was caused by the H1N1 virus.