Monday, June 29th, 2009
H1N1 flu occurs in Mercer
By Janie Southard
Mercer County recorded its first case of H1N1 influenza (formerly called swine flu) late last week. No treatment was administered, and the 14-year-old female is recuperating at home, according to the local health department.
She was one of about 400 youths participating in a missionary work camp in Lexington, N.C., from June 14-20. Many of the participants displayed H1N1 symptoms and sought treatment at nearby healthcare facilities.
Twelve of the 37 Mercer County people at this week-long camp are displaying similar symptoms to the diagnosed case.
"Because the H1N1 is so widespread we're not advising further testing among this group. Basically we want to educate and advise on how to treat yourself and reduce spread," said Joyce Jansen, director of nursing and communicable disease coordinator at the Mercer County health department.
She continued that this flu strain hasn't been very severe among healthy individuals. Those who need to be most careful are the elderly or the very young or those with underlying medical conditions.
The H1N1 flu has spread to more than 70 countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This led the World Health Organization to declare a worldwide pandemic alert level on June 11 in response to the global spread of this virus.
The CDC Web site today shows there have been 27,717 confirmed and probable cases of this flu in the U.S. and its territories, with 127 deaths so far. There have been 93 cases in Ohio, with no deaths.
"We don't know who these people are all the time so we need to caution everyone to protect themselves - use tissues when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands, etc.," she said.
The health department advises all residents to be watchful for symptoms, which include: fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, chills, headache and body aches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. This flu may last a week or more.
Stay at home and avoid contact with other people, except to get medical care, say health officials. They recommend staying at home for seven days after the start of symptoms or at least 24 hours after symptoms end, whichever is longer.
For further information, visit CDC (www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu) or the local health department (www.mccchd.org), or call Jansen at 419-586-3251, ext. 278, or a healthcare provider.