By Lance Polu
APIA: Monday 15 June 2009 – The Ministry of Health today confirmed one case of the swine flu in Samoa. This follows receipt of one positive result of the specimens sent for confirmation at a reference laboratory in Wellington. The positive case is a visiting student from the Lowther Hall Grammar, Melbourne that have been under quarantine since last week. The group is planned to return to Melbourne via Auckland at the end of the week.
The CEO of the Ministry of Health, Palanitina Tupuimatagi Toelupe is advising the public that there is no cause for alarm. She said that appropriate precautionary measures have been taken for the group of 29 students and staff from Melbourne that have been under quarantine so that the possibility of transmission to others has been minimised. Four locals who have been in contact with the group have also been under quarantine at the same motel.
The Ministry of Health maintains that the precautionary approach to containing spread of this new virus, is prevention, and more vigilant prevention. The virus has the potential to affect more severely, the young, the elderly, the pregnant and those who are already chronically ill from other conditions.
The Ministry of Health and the Public Health sector continues to trace any other possible close contacts of the group prior to quarantine. This is again precautionary.
With the confirmed introduction of the virus into Samoa, the Ministry of Health strongly advises against unnecessary attendance at public gatherings. Public cooperation and understanding is crucial in the Ministry’s work to protect the health and safety of Samoa from the threat posed by this new virus.