Tag Archives: Swine Flu

First Swine Flu – H1N1 Death in Barbados – Patients report no masks, no hand gel at Warrens Polyclinic!

Barbados Swine Flu Death

Barbados Swine Flu Death “an adult and had underlying medical conditions”

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Joy St. John informed the media Wednesday night that Barbados has had 96 cases of H1N1 and unfortunately, its first H1N1 flu death.

Dr. St. John said she “deeply regretted the passing of the person” and offered her condolences to friends and family. She urged the public to take the necessary precautionary measures and follow the guidelines put out by the Ministry of Health, so as to minimise the risk of contracting the H1N1 virus.

Joy St John Barbados

“We must continue to practise good hygiene if we are going to overcome this H1N1 outbreak. This death also shows that those predisposed groups must be extremely careful,”

…Barbados Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Joy St. John in Press Release – First H1N1 Death in Barbados

Dr. St. John was quick to point out that the 96 recorded cases “does not accurately reflect the current incidence of the disease here, since we have not been swabbing everybody who has exhibited flu-like symptoms in wake of the fact that there is in-country transmission.”

Trouble Reported at Warrens Polyclinic – No hand gel, limited mask use

Two hours before the press release by Dr. St. John, Barbados Free Press received the following from a reader, which we have edited to preserve their anonymity…

This is what happened when I went to be tested for suspected H1N1 virus.

When you go in at the Warrens Polyclinic it has a sign that says “ask for a mask here” so I knocked and knocked and no one came.  There’s a big poster from the MOH asking you to identify yourself as a “flu patient”, to be segregated I suppose, although there was absolutely no urgency for those showing up with flu symptoms, no trying to segregate them immediately.   I wasn’t given a mask (and no one else was either) until at least one hour after I arrived and then about 6 masks were given out to us, and I was told to sit next to children arriving for immunizations, etc.  I had enough common sense to try to keep away from the young ones.

Finally, after 1 hour I went into the holding pen for the H1N1 swabbies like me and everyone had their masks around their necks.  People walked in & out of the room without masks or a care in the world.  Hello, there’s no pandemic here is there? The only serious one there was the lone doctor in his mask and paper suit that stuck his neck out once to look at us all and pop back in.  There was a large poster depicting hand washing, but absolutely no hand sanitizer equipment or facilities of any kind were there.  I didn’t see anyone super ill, but how hard is it for a young girl with her 2 kids there, waiting for “hours!” as she said to me.  I can’t believe how inefficient it all was.

So I waited for 2 hours at the Warrens Polyclinic waiting to get tested for H1N1 as that is where FMH said to go, as they are not allowed to test anymore for it.   After two hours of waiting I just upped and left, as it was like being in Nairobi and I couldn’t take it anymore as I hadn’t been seen to by anyone but a receptionist who had made me wait over an hour to ask me what my business was, taking anyone who came in after me before me.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Whilst waiting to go in to speak to the nurse before the swab, I had to witness men going into the “Mens Toil” (the latter letters having disappeared) and not shutting the door behind them as they pissed.  And with nowhere to wash their hands, I was ready to hurl.  The hygiene, or lack therefore, that I noticed was incredible.  I got a friend of mine to pick me up, she nearly died when she saw me wearing the full mask on my face when I came out of the clinic.  I’m not one to slam this country, but God, is some of these government services a mess.


Filed under Barbados, Health

Swine Flu A Laboratory Creation Let Wild? World Health Organization Launches Serious Investigation After Roche Tamiflu Scientist Report

Tamiflu Scientist Adrian Gibbs Says Swine Flu Might Be Lab Escape

From Bloomberg.com

Swine Flu May Be Human Error; WHO Investigates Claim (Update1)

By Jason Gale and Simeon Bennett

May 13 (Bloomberg) — The World Health Organization is investigating a claim by an Australian researcher that the swine flu virus circling the globe may have been created as a result of human error.

Adrian Gibbs, 75, who collaborated on research that led to the development of Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu drug, said in an interview that he intends to publish a report suggesting the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. Gibbs said he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus’s origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint.

“One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape,” Gibbs said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “But there are lots of others.”

The World Health Organization received the study last weekend and is reviewing it, Keiji Fukuda, the agency’s assistant director-general of health security and environment, said in an interview May 11. Gibbs, who has studied germ evolution for four decades, is one of the first scientists to analyze the genetic makeup of the virus that was identified three weeks ago in Mexico and threatens to touch off the first flu pandemic since 1968…

… continue reading this Swine Flu Origins article at Bloomberg.com


Filed under Disaster, Health

BREAKING: Swine Flu Pandemic Imminent – World Health Organisation Declares Level 5 of 6


Airline Flights Scaled Back, Some US Schools Closed, Europe Into Lockdown

We just finished watching WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan on CNN satellite and I wish we had recorded what she said. No doubt you can go to CNN.com or Drudge Report and get the latest, but here it is from memory…

The World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert to the second-highest level, indicating that a full blown pandemic is “imminent” according to Dr. Chan. Dr. Chan said that “all countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans.”

Prior to the appearance of Dr. Chan, some talking heads at CNN were speculating that the Avian flu and SARS were a “3” on the pandemic scale – so that gives you an idea of the seriousness of the threat.

In the news, we see that Air France flight crews are refusing to fly to Mexico. I can’t blame them, but truly it is so appropriate that the French crews would be the first to say “non”. I can’t help it folks — like the old joke “How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? Answer: no one knows, it’s never been attempted!”

Now for Some Good News… And a More Balanced Perspective

eTurbo News —  a global travel industry newsletter — reminds us that 35,000 people died of influenza in the United States last year alone. Yes, as Dr. Chan pointed out in the WHO briefing a few minutes ago, this new strain of swine flu has never been seen before and should be treated with respect and the utmost precautions. And, we should all take those precautions.

But we at Barbados Free Press are willing to bet that in two months time this new crisis in the travel industry will be ending. Our leaders should not only be thinking about what is to be immediately done to protect everyone, they should be planning for the recovery of our tourist industry after this swine flu passes.

Have a read of the eTurbo News article Applying Tourism’s Lessons Learned From SARS To Swine Flu and you will be reassured that the sky is not falling. This swine flu crisis isn’t the end of the world, but it is going to significantly impact our national economy and your pocketbook. In response, hopefully our leadership will cancel a few champagne brunches at the Hilton and devote themselves to more immediate concerns.

Meanwhile, as we continually remind our readers: look after your family and friends better than you ever have before — you might be the one needing help next week.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Health

Swine Flu Scare Decimates International Travel – Barbados Suffers With Other Prime Destinations

Swine Flu = Empty Airplanes

Swine Flu = Empty Airplanes

“Dear Barbados Free Press,

It has been nothing but cancellations all day at the Hilton…”

Government Implements Watch At Grantley Adams Airport – Not Much Else To Be Done

No man and no nation can control the wind, tides and the seas. And so it is with swine flu. Nothing that Barbados did contributed to the outbreak, and little that Barbados does will matter on an international scale. Our government has instituted a watch at Grantley Adams international Airport, but realistically that is about all that can be done.

Shona’s little brother works at the airport and he says that passenger pickups are down by half as of today. An anonymous reader tells us that the staff at the Hilton were on the phone all day taking cancellations — not only from individuals, but also from group bookings.

It may take a few weeks or even a month, but this will pass.

As we said before, when times are tough — be frugal, and look after your family and friends because you never know when you might need a little help yourself.

Further Reading

Barbados Advocate: Barbados on alert!


Filed under Barbados