Dr. David Johnson

Health officials in Dominica say the country has not let the guard down on the Influenza A H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as swine flu.

The local Ministry of Health in September 2009 reported an outbreak of the virus, confirming 47 cases. Last month, Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Johnson said the virus was no longer a “major challenge” or concern for Dominica, and that all the 47 cases had recuperated.

But at a press conference of the Ministry of Health Thursday Dr. Johnson said the virus is continuing to be monitored.

“We have not put it behind at all. As a matter of fact, we have developed a H1N1 pandemic influenza plan. Our surveillance system continues to operate where we monitor communicable diseases, and therefore we continue to do testing, but at this time the test results are negative,” Johnson stated.

Gina Watson, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean,  said while cases of the virus have decreased, “we continue to have cases reported worldwide and deaths reported worldwide.”

“We continue recommending countries to pursue vaccination for seasonal flu and H1N1. In fact the next coming vaccine for the next seasonal flu season, will be a combined vaccine that includes H1N1 vaccine together with the seasonal vaccine … In no way have we reduced the  measures for prevention and surveillance,” Watson emphasized.