The Alamance County Health Department was notified on June 11 by the North Carolina Division of Public Health that laboratory tests from five additional Alamance County residents have been confirmed for Novel H1N1 Influenza. This brings the total of Alamance County H1N1 cases to six.
· Three of the new cases are the children of the patient confirmed on Tuesday. Two of the children are students at Blessed Sacrament School in Burlington. The school has been notified and has started the process of notifying parents. The sick children have also had contact with other family members who attend Eastlawn Elementary.
· The two other new cases are students at R. Homer Andrews Elementary in Burlington. Both of these cases involve the Alamance-Burlington School System and parents are being notified.
· In all cases, the patients have started anti-viral drug treatment and in-house isolation until at least 24 hours after the resolution of symptoms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) raised its pandemic alert for H1N1 (Swine Flu) to Phase 6 on June 11. A Phase 6 Alert means that that a global flu pandemic is underway. This action reflects the geographic spread of the virus, not the severity.
This is an ideal time for everyone to be thinking about personal preparation, if they have not already done so. Some of the questions that should be asked include, but are not limited to:
· What will I do if schools or child care is closed?
· Do I have enough food, water, medicine and personal supplies, in the event my family or I should be restricted to my home or if businesses are closed?
· Do I have a plan in place to manage finances in the event my employer is closed or if I’m unable to work from home?
· How will I cope with the possibility of being isolated for an extended period of time?
If anyone should exhibit any symptoms of illness, particularly fever (100F or greater), sore throat,
body aches, chills, and fatigue, it is highly recommended that to stay at home. Doing this protects the ill patient and the overall health of the entire community. Diarrhea and vomiting have also been known to accompany these symptoms. If symptoms continue to worsen, seek medical attention by contacting your physician or health care provider.
ACHD believes H1N1 will in the community for some time. Thus far the disease had been a mild to moderate illness. ACHD efforts will now concentrate on identifying suspected cases and control measures to minimize spread. As individuals continue to seek treatment for possible symptoms of Novel H1N1, the numbers of patients being tested may be slightly higher in the counties
surrounding McLendon Labs at UNC Hospitals because of their capability to identify probable H1N1 cases in their lab. UNC expects to begin confirmatory testing next week. Due to this capability, practices using UNC laboratory services are testing patients that would not have been
tested if the practice relied on the State Lab for Public Health (SLPH) alone for confirmatory testing.
The Alamance County Health Department is committed to protecting and improving the public’s health in Alamance County. Information and developments surrounding the Novel H1N1 Influenza continue to change frequently; the public is strongly encouraged to monitor local news outlets for updates from local public health officials.
Individuals seeking additional information may go to the CDC’s website (http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu) or call the Alamance County Health Department at (336) 227-0101.