29 Dec 2014

Influenza outbreak in American Samoa

5:53 am on 29 December 2014

Health officials in American Samoa say the territory is experiencing the beginning stages of an influenza outbreak, with more than 300 people seen for flu like symptoms in one week.

The expected case load for this time period is usually between 90 to 100 cases per week.

However, about three weeks ago, numbers were at 170 cases, and then increasing to 305 cases for the week ending December 21.

The Department of Health says the rapid increase signifies the beginning phase of an influenza outbreak with patients having symptoms that include sore throat, fever, cough, body aches and runny nose.

As the influx of patients rises in clinics and the hospital, the Department of Health is advising those affected to avoid contact with others, and treat the symptoms at home with the use of hand sanitizer, Tylenol, stay hydrated and get a lot of rest.

It says if symptoms do not go away after three days, or if they worsen, people should seek medical treatment at a health center or LBJ hospital.

The after hour clinic at Tafuna health center will be closed on New Year's Eve.