H1N1 Daily Update - 5/11/2009

H1N1 Daily Update - 5/11/2009

May 11, 2009

The State of Washington's Department of Health has confirmed that Washington State now has 176 confirmed and 19 probable cases of H1N1 swine flu. Spokane received confirmation of its third case this afternoon. The newest Spokane case is in a female in her teens who attends Mountain Side Middle School. Although the student was not in school during the time when they would likely have been contagious, parents of those who attend the school are being asked to keep their teens home from school if they have a fever, cough, headache, body aches, diarrhea or vomiting.

"We expect that we will continue to see more cases, and the important thing for people to do is to try to avoid getting or spreading the H1N1 swine virus," said Dr. Joel McCullough, Health Officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. "It is crucial for people who are sick to stay away from others, and that means staying home from work or school until they no longer have symptoms."

Although the virus is primarily causing mild to moderate symptoms, serious symptoms can occur. The Health District is stressing the importance of people taking simple actions to stop the spread of germs, including washing hands often, covering coughs with your sleeves – not your hands, and staying home from work or school if ill.

Dr. McCullough stresses that for most people who catch the H1N1 swine flu virus, symptoms can be managed at home through proper hydration and fever reduction. People should contact their health care provider by phone if they have serious symptoms such as high fever (102), difficulty breathing, or other symptoms, which would normally cause a person to seek medical care. 

As the symptoms are often mild, people may not know they have it and will not seek medical care, so getting an accurate number of local cases will continue to be more difficult. The focus is shifting from testing all people with influenza like symptoms to testing those who have serious symptoms.

As more human cases of (H1N1) swine influenza A virus infection are identified in the United States and internationally, the Spokane Regional Health District continues to work closely with other public health agencies and community partners to implement prevention and control measures.

For updated and reliable information, visit the following websites:

International: World Health Organization

National: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

State of Washington: Washington State Department of Health (DOH)

Spokane County: Spokane Regional Health District