Pregnant woman has swine flu

THE National Institute for Communicable Diseases has confirmed that a pregnant Gauteng woman has contracted swine flu.

This is the only case of swine flu that has been reported in South Africa in the past four months.

Lucille Blumberg, pictured, of the NICD, said this was not surprising as they were expecting new cases because of the influenza season.

"The influenza season in South Africa started this month and will continue until mid-July. We were expecting cases of swine flu but not as severe as it was last year. This is the first case we have recorded since February and we cannot rule out the possibility of more cases."

Swine flu has killed more than 18138 people around the world since it was first detected in Mexico in 2008

By February, SA had recorded 12636 cases including 93 deaths. Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape were the worst affected. Of the 93 that died, 26 were pregnant women and 19 were HIV-positive.

NICD spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said: "Though there has only been one case of swine flu, it is too early in the season to predict what the dominant strain in South Africa will be for this season.

"While the vast majority of illness due to influenza is uncomplicated, certain at-risk groups have been identified. This include pregnant women, persons with chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes, those who are HIV-infected or who have other causes of immunosuppression and persons over 65 years. Influenza vaccine should be administered to this group."

NICD has warned that there is a shortage of swine flu vaccine in the private sector.

It advises the public to utilise the public sector that still has stock.