A number of citizens in the northeastern part of South Africa have contracted the H1N1 virus, which is commonly referred to as the swine flu. The swine flu in Limpopo is most prevalent in the city of Tzaneen, in which many residents have been hospitalized due to the severity of this ailment. The outbreak and its effects are very serious, and could potentially be lethal; despite the dangerous concerns, South Africa is ready to handle the virus.
Influenza and Beyond
The influenza strain itself frequently causes illness in pig herds. For humans, the virus is considered a “variant case” because it rarely occurs in humans, yet when it spreads, the Swine Flu transforms into a respiratory infection that causes exhaustion, fever, sore throat and nausea. The illness is very contagious, and spreads through touching contaminated surfaces or breathing the virus itself.
If the symptoms persist without detection, the virus could turn into pneumonia, bronchitis or lung infection. Such developments could result in further health complications. Pregnant women are the most vulnerable group to contract the swine flu — according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, pregnant women who have the H1N1 virus are four times more likely to be hospitalized than non-pregnant carriers of the disease.
Pregnant Women in South Africa
In South Africa, pregnant women are treated as a priority group because they are exceedingly susceptible to the disease; therefore, hospitals have taken great caution to prevent and treat pregnant women who have contracted the virus. Due to the seriousness of the H1N1 virus, provinces within South Africa have issued amber alerts to warn residents about the continued threat of the swine flu in Limpopo.
A staggering finding found that about 98 percent of influenza infections this year within South Africa have been the H1N1 strain — this statistic shows the extremity of the virus among humans within the country. The latest outbreak occurred just weeks ago on June 30, 2018, and the H1N1 virus has left many individuals, particularly in Limpopo, in critical condition. Fortunately, there are no deaths yet that are due to the swine flu.
Hospitalization and H1N1 Counteractions
The illness has caused the hospitalization of individuals of all different ages and genders. For instance, one middle-aged man who seemed rather a health prior to the virus is now hooked up to a machine. The virus could have been a lot worse if medical professionals did not brace their patients for a bad flu season; many vaccines were given before the start of the season.
Not only did the nation prepare in advance for influenza, but most of the country also formulated a robust plan to counteract the virus. Evidently, the swine flu in Limpopo warranted a strong response from health departments and medical centers across the nation. The Western Cape Department of Health used data from global statistics and research to combat the further spread of the virus. They have since improved their vaccine so that it can prevent the newest version of the virus.
Preventive and Future Efforts
Medical centers and governmental officials are advising residents to visit their doctors if they experience symptoms related to the swine flu. Hospitals have outlined guidelines to abide by in order to prevent its spread, such as washing hands more frequently, consulting doctors as soon as any symptom occurs, inhaling fresh air and eating unprocessed, vibrant foods.
The best way to avoid the virus is to get vaccinated. Each year, doctors and researchers urge South African citizens to receive the vaccination. The country and its residents encountered one of the worst flu seasons last year, therefore, they were more prepared to handle this recent outbreak.
The swine flu in Limpopo reflects how influenza continues to be a global health issue. The international community and nations across the globe must be ready to combat the outbreak of influenza. Limpopo shows that preventative measures are exceedingly effective, yet they are always making improvements to better the response in the next year to come.
– Diana Hallisey