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Summary of Flu Information from Today's Media Briefing

Dr. Jeffrey Engel, State Health Director

Release Date: May 1, 2009
Contact: Carol Schriber, 919-733-9190

National Numbers

  • Today CDC is reporting 141 human cases of H1N1 influenza A (swine flu) in 19 states.
  • CDC has confirmed only one death as a result of the H1N1 virus; patient was a 23-month-old child in Texas.
  • For state-by-state case counts, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov/swineflu.

North Carolina Update

Numbers

  • North Carolina has no confirmed cases of H1N1 flu at this time. There are two probable cases; specimens have been sent to CDC for testing but the results are not yet back. (A “probable case” is defined as someone who had an influenza virus that was not able to be typed as seasonal influenza at the State Laboratory of Public Health; further tests are required. A “suspect case” is defined as someone with a flu-like illness who has traveled to an affected area or exposed to someone with a confirmed case of the H1N1 virus. Case definitions can change as the outbreak goes on. )
  • As of 3:00 p.m. today, the State Laboratory of Public Health in North Carolina had received a total of 334 specimens since Sunday. 202 specimens have tested negative; two others are considered probable cases and are undergoing further testing; 130 specimens are still awaiting testing.
  • North Carolina treats all suspect cases as if they have swine flu until testing shows otherwise. This means that suspected cases are isolated, usually at home, to prevent possible spread of illness to others.

Actions

  • Six trucks carrying national stockpile supplies arrived in North Carolina on Thursday. Two more trucks are expected to arrive on Saturday. Contents of the shipment include anti-virals and personal protective gear. Anti-virals (Relenza and Tamiflu) in the stockpile will be used for treatment only. Public health officials are working closely with local health departments and providers to get anti-virals and personal protective gear distributedn to local receiving centers.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is shipping laboratory diagnostic kits to North Carolina. These kits are expected to arrive within the next 24-48 hours and will allow the State Laboratory of Public Health to perform the additional testing to determine whether a sample is positive for the H1N1 virus (results will be confirmed by CDC).
  • The State Laboratory of Public Health is currently operating 24 hours a day in order to handle the increased amount of specimens that continue to arrive. Testing on these samples is happening around the clock.
  • Public health agencies are actively working with local health departments, hospitals other key providers, schools, the Latino community and minority organizations to educate local communities about what they can do to reduce risk of getting the H1N1 virus as well as take the appropriate and immediate steps to protect the public health in the event that a case is diagnosed in their community.
  • The N.C. Office of Citizens Services (NC CARE Line) is responding to calls from the public regarding swine flu. If the need arises and call volumes increase, the Governor will activate a bi-lingual hotline to handle increased call volume.

Prevention Messages

  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water and soap are not available.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue; throw the used tissue into a trash can.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, do not go to work or school; stay away from other people as much as possible.
  • Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For more information see the NC DHHS flu website at www.ncdhhs.gov (direct link www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/gcdc/flu.html).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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