15 Jul 2009

Marshall Islands confirms its first swine flu cases

8:45 am on 15 July 2009

The Marshall Islands has confirmed its first swine flu cases.

The Ministry of Health in Majuro says four Marshall Islands adults have the virus.

President Litokwa Tomeing confirmed the first cases, urging the public 'not to panic' and calling on people to comply with Ministry of Health prevention measures.

Majuro Hospital went into a lock-down mode on Tuesday, with hospital security preventing entry to the country's main hospital except through a swine flu screening area outside the front door of the facility.

This resulted in big lines as patients waited to be screened before entering the hospital.

The acting Secretary of Health, Russell Edwards, says these new security measures at the hospital are an attempt to control the spread of the virus.

He says Ministry staff will be communicating with local churches that are currently holding large summer conventions for youth members and pastors in an effort to enlist their support to contain the spread.

He says they have about 2,000 doses of Tamiflu on hand but that additional medication is on order and expected to arrive soon.

The Marshall Islands has a population of 55,000.