Swine flu claims 3 more lives

THE number of H1N1 fatalities has increased to six following the deaths of two pregnant women and a 64-year-old man at the weekend.

THE number of H1N1 fatalities has increased to six following the deaths of two pregnant women and a 64-year-old man at the weekend.

The latest victims are two women from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal while the man, a diabetic, is from the Western Cape.

In light of the recent deaths, the Department of Health has urged people who fall within the high-risk group - pregnant women and people who suffer from chronic illnesses, including HIV-Aids, to seek medical attention as soon as they experience symptoms of swine flu.

Department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said yesterday: "Even if the symptoms are mild, people who belong to the high-risk group must be tested."

About 2844 cases of swine flu have been confirmed across the country since it was first detected in June. The majority of cases are in Gauteng followed by Western Cape.

"The majority of confirmed cases in the country are mild, and this continues to be a trend internationally. Mild symptoms include a runny or blocked nose, fever, muscle aches and pain, and a cough, and such cases will not need any specialised medical care as nothing should happen to them," Hadebe said.

He advised people who do not belong in the high-risk category to seek urgent medical attention when they develop moderate or severe symptoms.

Moderate symptoms of swine flu are defined by shortness of breath, chest pain, persistent vomiting and diarrhoea while severe symptoms are characterised by difficulty breathing (respiratory distress), blue lips - or other parts of the body - and severe drowsiness or loss of consciousness.

The first H1N1 victim was 22-year-old Stellenbosch University student Ruan Muller followed by a 15-year-old boy from Bloemfontein. The third victim was a 42-year-old woman from the Western Cape.

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