Influenza Outbreak

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English PDF: 1675 KB

Number: D45/2017

Date: 31 August 2017

Relevant: Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island

Topic: Influenza Outbreak—Public Health Advice

Influenza Outbreak—Public Health Advice

A highly contagious strain of influenza virus (‘the flu’) has spread throughout the Cocos (Keeling) Islands community, infecting a large number of residents. Whilst the outbreak is confined to Cocos at this stage, the virus may spread to Christmas Island.

There is no medical cure for the flu. Affected residents should remain at home and treat symptoms with rest, plenty of water and Panadol for fevers if required. Symptoms of the flu include:

  • Chills, shivering and fever (temperature over 38 degrees Celsius)
  • Headache/ Muscle aches and pains
  • Sore throat and/ or Dry cough
  • Stuffy or runny nose/ Sneezing
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble breathing

The IOT Health Service has closed the West and Home Island Clinics in an effort to prevent further spreading of the virus. Residents who are experiencing symptoms outside of those listed above, have chronic health concerns or who need medical attention can still call the Clinics. The nurses will assess the symptoms and see patients if necessary. Christmas Island Hospital has sent additional equipment and staff to support Cocos, which may affect some appointments throughout the next week. Patients will be contacted and advised if this is the case.

Residents who are caring for those with the flu should take precautions to prevent contracting the virus themselves, ensuring you keep your distance from infected friends and family, and washing your hands regularly.

It is acknowledged that Friday 1 September 2017 is Hari Raya Haji, and that many people will gather to observe religious worship. If you are unwell, you are urged to stay at home. If you must attend, please use the antibacterial hand wash provided, cover your mouth when coughing and consider using a face mask.

The WA Department of Health has advised no additional community quarantine measures are required at this time. Residents should read the attached pamphlet “The Flu and You” PDF: 907 KB for further information on influenza and how to avoid contracting or sharing the virus.

Leon Mills