Thursday, April 30, 2009

Positive H1N1 (Swine Flu) Confirmed in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) confirmed today Georgia’s first human case of swine influenza virus Type A (H1N1) disease in Troup County. The person is currently under treatment.

“What we know at this point is this patient recently traveled to Mexico” said GDPH Acting Director Sandra Elizabeth Ford, MD. At this time, we do not know if or how many more cases of H1N1 there are in this area or in the state. We are active participants in the collection of samples based on the CDC case definitions and those samples are being forwarded to the State Public Health Lab for testing.

"Georgia Public Health is actively engaging and addressing this issue with its many community, state and federal partners,” said Michael Brackett, M.D. District 4 Medical Director. “We are already looking for other cases. We have not found any. This case diagnosis is one result of that rapid and highly coordinated effort to protect Georgians from this novel virus. These efforts will continue unabated until this threat is resolved."

Although this is Georgia’s first human case, the total number of US cases has risen to 110 with 7 of the cases resulting in hospitalization.

“I want to stress that there is no need for panic, locally or otherwise. We are further evaluating the situation and will continue to do so. The medical staff and hospital staff have done an excellent job at keeping the community safe,” said Brackett.

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. If you become ill with influenza like symptoms seek medical care. There is medication available that can help.

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before you eat or after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective, if needed.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.

If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school; and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

GDPH and the LaGrange Public Health District strongly recommend Georgia residents to:

1) Contact your health care provider if you are not feeling well and have recently traveled to areas that have high numbers of confirmed cases of swine flu.

2) Keep up healthy behaviors –such as washing hands, coughing or sneezing in tissue or crook of elbow, staying at home when you are feeling sick, and following your health care provider’s recommendations.

3) Develop or update your Emergency Preparedness plan and Emergency Preparedness kit. Visit to access online tools that will provide step-by-step guidance on how to create a plan and an emergency kit.

Regular updates are also ongoing on the CDC’s website

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