Starting this week, the state public health lab will be able to confirm cases of the virus for the state with the use of flu kits provided by federal officials.
“The state of Tennessee is taking the necessary level of precaution as directed by the CDC to slow the spread of this new flu virus in these identified communities,” said State Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. “This allows federal officials time to learn more about the virus, its severity and its impact on those affected.”
To date, a total of nine cases of this strain of flu have been identified through state lab testing. The breakdown is as follows:
County CDC Confirmed Cases Probable Cases
Davidson 0 6
Knox 0 1
Shelby 0 1
Williamson 1 0
All patients are recovering from the illness and have a good prognosis. The Tennessee Department of Health is working with local public health officials to identify and provide antiviral medication to the patients’ family and close contacts. Anyone identified as a close contact of a patient will be notified by the Department.
“This CDC confirmation does not change any of the recommendations or interventions already in place. We will continue to see more cases identified in these communities because of expanded testing and surveillance,” said State Epidemiologist Tim F. Jones, MD. “It is important that people continue to wash their hands at every opportunity, cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or tissue, and stay home if you have any cold or flu symptoms.”
Human cases of the H1N1 virus infection are being identified both in the U.S. and internationally. The Tennessee Department of Health is conducting active surveillance to determine how widespread the virus is in Tennessee. The Department is also collaborating with U.S. Health and Human Services to ensure the state has adequate medical supplies and necessary medications on hand should they be needed.
As of today, CDC has confirmed 226 human cases of this strain of flu infection in the U.S. and one related death. The most current information, as well as a state-by-state breakdown, can be found on the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.
Tennessee residents who think they may be ill with the flu or flu-like illness should contact their health care provider. Symptoms of the illness are as follows: fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed. If you become ill and experience any warning signs, seek emergency medical care. In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
-Severe or persistent vomiting
The Department of Health recommends frequent hand washing with warm soapy water, keeping hands away from your face, eyes and mouth, and covering coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or tissue. These precautions can also help prevent the spread of other illnesses including the common cold.
For more information about the current flu outbreak, visit the Department of Health Web site at http://health.state.tn.us/swineflu.htm. Additional information is also available at the CDC’s Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.