Pregnant woman fourth person in Jamaica to die of swine flu-related illness.

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday March 7, 2016 – A woman who was pregnant with twins has been recorded as the fourth patient to die from swine flu-related illness in less than a month.

The 29-year-old woman said to be carrying twins, died at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).

The first person to die from H1N1-related complications was a 50-year-old female doctor. A 49-year-old woman died the following week and, a few days later, an 84-year-old woman became the third victim to succumb. All the victims had other complications, including lung and heart-related illnesses.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye is pleading with people at high risk for severe complications from flu to be extra vigilant and take steps to prevent infection.

“Patients in the high-risk groups usually have other illnesses made worse by the infection or a compromised immune system. We generally see the greatest effects in persons with non-communicable diseases, such as heart and lung related illnesses and respiratory diseases such as asthma,” he explained.

Persons in the high-risk group include children under five years old, pregnant women, the elderly, persons with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, asthma, and those with a compromised immune system.

“Persons in the high-risk group are at a greater risk of being severely affected if they get the flu virus. These persons therefore need to be extra cautious by observing proper hygiene practices and taking other measures to prevent infection,” De La Haye said, adding that they should also seek medical help if they begin to notice flu symptoms, since it is important that treatment is initiated early so that there is a greater chance of recovery.

Influenza is a viral respiratory illness with symptoms that include fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, headache, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Influenza viruses are mainly spread from person to person through droplets produced while coughing or sneezing or by persons touching surfaces contaminated with droplets.

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