by Linda Straker
- Several people who died from pneumonia in last quarter of 2019 were victims of Swine Flu
- Prior to confirmation, there were no known deaths or cases of Swine Flu in Grenada
Epidemiological samples from Grenada sent to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA, have confirmed that several people who died from pneumonia in the last quarter of 2019 were victims of H1N1, otherwise known as Swine Flu.
“Covid-19 may have been around, I am not denying that, but the fact of the matter is, during that time because we were concerned about the deaths, we collaborated with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and took samples from these patients and sent them to the Centres for Disease Control in the United States for testing. The results came back and showed that these patients had H1N1, not Covid-19,” said Dr Francis Martin, Acting Chief Medical Officer.
Dr Martin said just over 10 samples were sent for testing, most of which were from males. “Our investigation revealed there were over 15 pneumonia-related deaths during the period.” He admitted that prior to the confirmation, there were no known deaths or cases of Swine Flu in Grenada. The disease has been circulating in the region for some time with several deaths in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2019, a few Caribbean countries other than Trinidad and Tobago reported deaths due to H1N1. It was declared a pandemic for 19 months covering the period January 2009 to August 2010.
The symptoms of H1N1 flu are like those of other influenzas and may include fever, cough (typically a dry cough), headache, muscle or joint paint, sore throat, chills, fatigues and runny nose. Vomiting, diarrhoea along with neurological problems have also been reported in some cases.
In the last quarter of 2019 into the first quarter of 2020, many people in Grenada were affected by a common cold which resulted in several with respiratory problems admitted for care at medical facilities including the General Hospital. At the time some felt that it may have been Covid-19. However, Grenada’s first laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 patient was in mid-March 2020, a female visitor from the United Kingdom.