Dutch hospitals on standby for flu outbreak

Dutch hospitals on standby for flu outbreak

6th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Hospitals make quarantine preparations

Dutch hospitals are preparing for the spread of Mexican flu. Until now, there has only been one reported case in the Netherlands. However, further spreading of the virus is not out of the question. The Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) has prepared a quarantine room and can quickly prepare more such rooms if necessary.

Last week, the Netherlands reported its first case of Mexican flu. A three-year-old who had contracted the virus during a recent visit to Mexico brought the flu into the country, causing uneasiness amongst the population. The child is not being held in quarantine and is being cared for at home. This would seem to indicate that the first case of Mexican flu in the Netherlands is not too serious.

Dutch hospitals, however, remain on the alert for further cases of the flu virus. The
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has sent out a protocol for dealing with the flu, which hospitals can adjust to suit their own needs. In response to this, the LUMC has already prepared a quarantine room in the case of an infection. The hospital has a number of quarantine rooms which can be quickly made available in an emergency situation.

According to Professor Jaap van Dissel of the LUMC, patients who are not seriously ill should be treated at home and should come in contact with as few people as possible. Mexican flu patients who are treated in hospital, even those held in quarantine, would put other hospitalised patients at risk.

The World Health Organisation raised the alarm level last week to five. This means that the Mexican flu is officially considered a pandemic. In light of this fact, the preparations made by Dutch hospitals do not seem unnecessary.

Marijke van den Berg
Radio Netherlands

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