Solomon Islands
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Health Ministry Announces Outbreak of Viral Respiratory Illness for Honiara and Malaita

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services announced an outbreak of Viral Respiratory Illness (VRI) in Honiara and Malaita province.

Minister Dr Culwick Togamana announced the outbreak in his special address this afternoon.

During the week from 25 to 30 July, the National Public Health Surveillance Unit picked up 234 cases of Influenza or flu-like illnesses in Honiara and Malaita.

From 1 to 7 August, the number of cases increased to 803.

In Malaita Atoifi hospital recorded an increase of 223 percent and Auki clinic 363 percent.

In Honiara, the National Referral Hospital (NRH) recorded an increase of 264 percent, Kukum clinic, 113 percent and Rove clinic 387 percent.

Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr Culwick Togamana delivering his address

Minister Togamana said 72 percent of total admission at the NRH Emergency Department in the past 24 hours are respiratory adults.

This includes 68 adults and 26 children.

“Our doctors including paediatricians are working hard to provide treatment and care to the 5 paediatric inpatients admitted with flu-like symptoms.

“Most of the cases presented to health facilities were babies and children. Now we are also seeing an influx of adults also presenting with flu-like illnesses.

“Symptoms include, flue or runny nose, coughing, fever, Nausea or vomiting, headache and shortness of breath or shortwin as commonly known,” Dr Togamana confirmed.

Samples collected from patients by Lab Technicians from NRH were discovered to be multiple respiratory viruses with Rhinovirus and influenza H3 predominating, the main drivers of the outbreak.

The Health Minister warns, there is a high chance or risk that it will spread to all other provinces due to ongoing inter-island travels.

Meanwhile, the public were advised to adhere to public health measures.

This includes, wearing masks, practicing handwashing, maintaining social distance, avoiding large public gatherings, avoiding visitation and maintaining personal hygiene at all times.

Those experiencing these flu-like symptoms are advised to drink plenty of drinking water and take Panadol.

If fever persists and for babies and children, consult the doctors at a nearest health clinic.

ENDS///