Belize’s Ministry of Health this morning held a press conference in Belize to share the following information on the swine flu, which the World Health Organization (WHO) is now referring to as Influenza A (H1N1).
In collaboration with the Mexican authorities, the Belize Free Zone and casinos in Corozal have been closed. On a daily basis more than 4,000 Mexicans visit and 2,000 Belizeans work in these areas, and this closure is in keeping with the efforts of Mexican authorities to avoid transmissions of the Influenza A (H1N1) by closing non-essential services in Mexico.
To date 16 samples from Belize have been sent for testing of which preliminary results have been received for 8. Samples are sent for testing using the conditions outlined in the criteria used for the rapid identification of unusual or unexpected cases of respiratory disease.
Of the first 8 samples sent for testing, 5 fit the criteria to be tested for the Influenza A (H1N1) Virus. Those 5 samples have all proven to be negative. The other 3 did not fit the criteria for the Influenza A (H1N1) testing, but they are still under investigation to determine what viruses might be involved.
Dr. Paul Edwards has categorically stated that the first 8 samples sent for investigation are negative for Influenza A (H1N1). This is in keeping with today’s announcement by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) that all specimens received from its member states have proven thus far to be negative.
The results of the remaining 8 samples sent for testing are expected back today by 6:00 pm.
All other preventative measures already established in Belize remain with no further escalation in Belize’s pandemic response at this time.