Monday, May 04, 2009

Polk County First Probable H1N1

It was probably just a matter of time, but Polk County has its first "probable" case of H1N1. Although, county health officials say that "probable" will probably soon change to "confirmed". Last I heard, Marshall County is still waiting on 7 probable cases. So the state still has just 1 confirmed case so far.

Here's the release from Polk County:

Polk County Health Department has been notified that a Polk County resident has been identified as a “probable case” of having the H1N1 virus. The initial testing, performed by the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory, is expected to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Because almost all of the cases identified as “probable” have been confirmed as positive for the H1N1 virus, based on recommendations from the Iowa Department of Public Health, we are moving forward assuming that will be true with this case. We will begin our investigation immediately,” said Terri Henkels, Polk County Health Department Director.

Health Department officials will interview the patient to identify who he might have had close enough contact with him to spread the virus. The investigation will help Health Department officials identify who else needs to be tested and who might need to be treated with anti-viral medication.

The Polk County resident is a 27-year old male who recently traveled to two states with previously confirmed cases. He was tested at Polk County Health Department last week. He was requested to voluntarily isolate himself at home until the results came back.

“We strongly encourage people who have been tested for the virus to stay home from work or school until the test results come back. Our primary goal is to minimize the number of people get sick and we will continue to proceed and urge caution, said Ms. Henkels.

Since there is no vaccination available for this flu virus it is important that people remember to: wash their hands frequently, and always wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. They should use an alcohol-based hand gel is soap and water is not available. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or your sleeve or elbow.

People with a temperature rises above 100 F, along with other symptoms, including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion and extreme tiredness, should contact their health care provider to be seen and tested in a way that will not endanger the health of others.

“People without a healthcare provider of their own should contact the Health Department (286-3890). Most importantly people who feel ill should stay home! Don’t send your children to school if they feel ill,” said Ms. Henkels.

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