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Caribbean Swine Flu Rate Now Close To 50

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. June 8, 2009: Swine flu rate in the Caribbean is growing with the region recording its first death on Friday and the current rate now put at  49.

Dominican Republic health officials reported a pregnant 17-year-old from Santo Domingo as the first victim of  AH1N1 flu virus. The death comes as the World Health Organization said the DR now has 33 reported cases of the disease, the highest for any Caribbean country.

Jamaica for its part reported three more cases Sunday, brining the total according to the Health Ministry’s surveillance and monitoring team to seven.

The ministry said it detected three other confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1) in the island on Saturday, June 6, 2009.  All three cases have been linked to travel to New York in the United States, including one who is a resident there.

Barbados reported its first case on Friday while the Bahamas and Puerto Rico also have one case each. Martinique on Sunday reported its first case while Trinidad and Tobago reported two cases. Cuba`s swine flu count remains contained at four.

Globally there have been 21,940 cases reported of swine flu globally with 125 deaths according to the WHO. The U.S. leads with 11,054 reported cases, surpassing Mexico where the disease reportedly originated.

Influenza A (H1N1) is highly contagious.  Persons are therefore being reminded that they need to take measures to protect themselves from any Influenza virus infection. These include frequent hand washing with soap and water, covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, avoiding contact with infected persons and limit intimate contact.

Persons with flu-like symptoms should visit their doctor, the nearest health center or hospital.