Team set up for flu fight

THE Gauteng departments of health and of education have formed the Provincial Outbreak Response Team on Communicable Diseases in response to the possible outbreak of swine flu when schools reopen next week.

The team, made up of medical doctors, public health promoters, epidemiologists, communicable disease experts and researchers, will meet on a regular basis.

Education department spokesperson Nanagolo Leopeng said yesterday: "The main purpose of these meetings is to report,manage andprovide education and information to the public and to prevent the further spread of communicable diseases outbreaks such as meningitis, measles, cholera and H1N1.

"The department has been in constant contact with health clinics and schools where outbreaks have occurred.

"Both the education and health department will dispatch teams to affected school communities where outbreaks are confirmed or suspected," Leopeng said.

Meanwhile, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed 103 cases of swine flu in South Africa since its outbreak on June 12.

In line with a World Health Organisation recommendation of last week, the NICD has now decided to stop routine laboratory testing of all suspected cases of influenza.