Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. June 23, 2009: The Ministry of Health wishes to briefly respond to a number of media requests in regards to the H1N1 situation in Tobago. For the purpose of clarity, the Ministry advises that the team which visited the sister island over the weekend went there as a continuation of collaboration between the two islands.

The team included the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Senator Wesley George, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Cumberbatch, the Adviser, Public Health, Communications and Health Promotion, Dr. Doon, the Head of Medical Programmes, Dr. Kumar Sundaraneedi, and the Epidemiologist in the National Surveillance Unit, Dr Avery Hinds. .

The decision to do so stemmed from the need to ensure that isolation processes, surveillance methods and other medical interventions related to H1N1 were strengthened and in sync with the activities undertaken in Trinidad.

The Ministry would like to report that the majority of confirmed H1N1 cases in Tobago are directly linked and that the surveillance system is working well and contributing to the rapid identification of cases.

At this point the Ministry of Health would like to emphasize to the national media that confirmatory test results for H1N1 can be officially announced only by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry will appreciate the media’s collaboration in this matter so as to avoid any confusion and misinformation dissemination. Please note that there are international ramifications embedded in the official reporting of cases in a pandemic; therefore, it is critical that this matter be handled properly and responsibly.

This is based on clearly defined protocols derived from PAHO/WHO procedures.

The Ministry of Health trusts that all media will appreciate the importance of this and act accordingly. It should also be noted that the media at large have been very cooperative and helpful in keeping the public informed about H1N1 and carrying the Ministry’s messages, for which we express our gratitude. We kindly request at this point to continue your good work and urge citizens to seek official information from the Ministry of Health by promoting its communication channels (please see details below).

Further, the Ministry wishes to update the national community on the presence of H1N1 cases in Trinidad and Tobago. The following table provides the latest statistics:

Recovered/Re-integrated Cases - 23
Current active confirmed Cases - 9
Total - 32

New cases reported since last update of 20th, June: 7

The Ministry of Health continues to urge citizens to practice good hygiene (washing hands) and proper respiratory etiquette (cover your cough, sneeze, etc). All citizens are further urged to seek official information on Influenza A/H1N1 through the Ministry’s