By FARRAH JOHNSON
THE number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the country has risen to six, according to Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.
Before heading into a Cabinet meeting yesterday, the minister said there have been six confirmed laboratory documented cases of H1N1 influenza as well as two deaths from the virus.
“There were two men both of whom had documented H1N1 and I think it is important to know that not every case of influenza has laboratory confirmation so by definition there are more cases than just six,” he said.
Still, when asked whether Bahamians should be alarmed due to the rise in number of cases, the minister asserted that fear was not necessary.
Instead, he insisted that taking preventive measures is the most effective way to avoid contracting the disease.
“I think what people should do is to understand that flu is real, that it happens every year, that it happens all around the world,” he said.
Dr Sands said people should practice “safe respiratory hygiene” and wash their hands frequently because the virus is commonly contracted through direct contact.
He added people should ignore the “old wives tales” and go themselves immunised.
“We still have thousands and thousands of thousands of doses of flu vaccines that have not been taken up,” he said.
The flu vaccine is available free of charge at public health facilities across the country, and those most at risk, such as healthcare workers, teachers, pregnant women, young children and the elderly should ensure that they are vaccinated.