Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, January 11, 2023 [Press Secretary’s Office]: St. Kitts and Nevis, as with the rest of the region, is in the middle of the 2022-2023 Influenza (flu) season which typically occurs between November to March each year.
As the concerns over the influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and the new strain of the COVID-19 rise, the Ministry of Health seeks to advise the public on ways to address the symptoms and prevent transmission.
Influenza (flu) is an acute and very contagious respiratory tract infection caused by influenza type A (H3N2) and type B viruses circulating in all parts of the world, and in the Caribbean sub-region.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact us globally, the USA, Europe, the Caribbean region, and the Federation. There has been a gradual increase in RSV, COVID-19, and Influenza (Flu) cases caused by influenza type A virus in the Federation confirmed by laboratory testing.
The Ministry of Health is monitoring the emergence of XBB.1.5 latest Omicron subvariant surging in the north-eastern USA. This is the most transmissible variant that has been detected so far. The variant Omicron and its subvariants remain the dominant variants and they cause less severe disease.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew announced in August of 2022 that the mask mandates have been lifted within the Federation except that you are expected to wear a face mask when visiting the hospital or any health facility. However, the public health measures such as mandatory isolation for persons who test positive for COVID-19 remain.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for children aged four years and younger and older adults.
The influenza virus causes mild to very severe illness which can at times be detrimental. The symptoms often occur within one (1) to four (4) days after becoming infected. Persons may experience some fever, sore throat, coughing, stuffy or runny nose, muscle, and joint pains (body aches), headache and sometimes dizziness, chills, loss of taste sensation and appetite, malaise & fatigue, or sometimes diarrhoea and vomiting.
Most persons recover from these flu symptoms within one (1) week. However, some persons are at high risk of progressing and developing complications of the flu like ear infection, sinus infection, lung infection or pneumonia, and even worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
It is recommended that you visit your regular doctor or the district medical officer at the nearest health centre if you develop any symptoms of the flu. Persons are also encouraged to remain at home until fully recovered and to wear masks to prevent the transmission of the virus if contracted.
The Ministry of Health takes this opportunity to wish everyone optimal health, happiness, and success for 2023 and beyond.