JOHANNESBURG – There is no outbreak of the H1N1 virus also known as swine flu in South Africa, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) assured on Wednesday.
Eyewitness News is aware of at least 20 people who have been diagnosed with the flu over the last few weeks.
At least one person died from the virus.
The NICD’s Barry Schoub says there is nothing unusual about people being diagnosed with this flu.
“It’s a normal flu we get every winter.”
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s office has also assured the public that there's no cause for alarm.
The ministry’s spokesperson Joe Maila said on Tuesday there’s no need for panic, adding, “There’s no outbreak of swine flu in the country.”
WHAT IS SWINE FLU?
According to the Department of Health, swine flu is an airborne disease that spreads in the same way as seasonal flu, through coughing and sneezing. It cannot be caught by eating pork.
Transmission can be avoided by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or hanky, by washing one's hands regularly and by avoiding crowded areas especially if people have symptoms of the flu.
It is treatable with antiviral medication which is largely available in South Africa.
Symptoms can be divided into "mild", "moderate" and "severe".
Mild symptoms include a runny or blocked nose, fever, muscular aches and pains, a general feeling of unwellness and coughing.
Moderate symptoms include mild symptoms as well as shortness of breath, chest pain, persistent vomiting, diarrhoea and signs of dehydration.
Severe symptoms include mild and moderate symptoms as well as signs of respiratory distress, lips and other parts of the body turning blue and severe drowsiness and loss of consciousness.
People who are suffering from the symptoms should see their doctor.