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No Confirmed Cases Of H1n1 Flu (Swine Flu) In Klickitat County

Two probable cases sent to lab

The Klickitat County Health Department (KCHD) is in close contact with local providers and the Washington State Department of Health in monitoring the swine influenza (H1N1) virus (or "swine flu") locally, state-wide, and nationally.

As of May 4, 2009, there have been 286 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in 36 states with a median age of 17 years. While there are no confirmed cases in Washington, there are 35 probable cases in five Washington counties.

Two cases of influenza A have been reported in Klickitat County. Lab samples have been sent to the state to determine if they are probable H1N1 flu cases. If the samples are found to be probable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will need to conduct further testing to determine whether or not they are confirmed cases of H1N1 flu.

The H1N1 flu, like the common seasonal flu, is a virus that spreads from infected people to others through coughs and sneezes. Common symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, and sometimes trouble breathing, diarrhea and vomiting.

Most cases of H1N1 flu in the United States at this time involve only mild illness, but early on in the outbreak it is important to try and prevent the spread as much as possible.

Currently, H1N1 flu does not seem more severe than the typical seasonal flu. It is important to remember that the seasonal flu itself can be a severe illness. Each year in the United States more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications and about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

Jane Palmer, RN BSN, clinical division manager at the Klickitat County Health Department, recommends that anyone who has flu-like symptoms should stay home from school or work and away from others.

"Staying home when sick stops the spread of the flu and helps a person to get well," Palmer said.

Individuals who are sick should stay home for at least seven days after symptoms start even if their symptoms resolve sooner. People who are still sick after seven days should continue to stay home from school or work until at least 24 hours after they have completely recovered.

To reduce spread of illness among children, parents/caregivers and school staff can teach children to wash their hands often with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes, not touch the eyes, nose, or mouth, and stay away from people who are sick.

Each day parents/caregivers and school staff should assess themselves and children for flu-like symptoms. Anyone who shows symptoms during school or work should return home.

Medical care is not required if a person has mild flu-like symptoms. If symptoms are more severe (severe cough, sore throat, body aches and feeling very sick), a person should contact or visit their local health care provider.

For up-to-date information about H1N1 flu visit the Klickitat County Health Department's website at www.klickitatcounty.org/Health/.

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