Monday, May 4, 2009

Henry County Swine Flu / H1N1 Influenza A Confirmed; Cases Pending in other Counties

The State Public Health Lab has forwarded a lab specimen from a student at Eagles Landing Christian Academy to the CDC. Today it was confirmed for the novel strain H1N1 influenza A. Current CDC recommendations are to close schools for up to 14 days for suspected or confirmed cases of H1N1. School officials have elected to temporarily close according to CDC guidelines.

“We are in constant communication with the State Medical Director and lead state Epidemiologist regarding all cases,” said Michael Brackett, District 4 Medical Director. “We are coordinating with school officials to provide advice and support during this temporary closure. We will closely adhere to the most current CDC recommendations regarding H1N1.”

“At this time, we do not know if or how many more cases of H1N1 there are in this area or in the state,” said Brackett. “We will interview those involved in this case and recommend further treatments using CDC protocol. We are active participants in the collection of samples based on the CDC case definitions and suspicious samples are being forwarded to the State Public Health Lab for testing. You will be contacted by public health staff if you need to be evaluated, but if you are sick you should seek help from your medical provider. ”

"Georgia Public Health is actively engaging and addressing this issue with its many community, state and federal partners,” said Brackett “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."

“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 leadership of Eagles Landing Christian Academy have responded professionally and are on top of this situation. They have done an excellent job at keeping the community safe,” said Brackett.

At present, 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 H1N1influenza. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with H1N1 influenza infection in people. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 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 flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these important 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 H1N1 influenza.
2) Keep up healthy behaviors –such as washing hands, coughing or sneezing in tissue or crook of elbow, staying at home when you arefeeling 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

Georgia Public Health Hotline 1.888.899.9788 or locally 770.830.2828.

Note: Reports from the CDC indicate three other possible cases of the flu are being tested, one in Clayton County.
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