Macon County Chronicle

H1N1 Declared National Emergency

President Obama signed a proclamation declaring the H1N1 influenza a national emergency, giving doctors and medical facilities greater leeway in responding to the flu pandemic, as the rates of illness are rising rapidly in many areas and there’s a potential to overburden health care resources.

“We do the tests that determine whether it’s Type A or B here at the office,” said Dr. Stanley Chunn when I stopped by his office on Friday afternoon, November 6th, “and considering the viral culture to prove if the flu strain is H1N1 cost $600 we generally treat Type A as this latest influenza epidemic or swine flu. The bottom line is, whether A or B we will generally treat it with the same medicine.”

“All our supply of the H1N1 vaccine is spoken for,” Dr. Chunn continued, “and we have a shipment of 100 on the way, but 50 of those doses are also already spoken for, leaving just 50 more for the public.”

“Meanwhile, you need to wash your hands, don’t sneeze on spit on people, and stay at home if you’re running a fever,” the doctor emphasized, “and if anybody in your family has the flu, go directly to your family doctor to prevent from catching it yourself.”

Federal officials add that the swine flu is more widespread now than it ever has been, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths so far in the United States. About 100 pediatric swine flu deaths have been reported.

“We haven’t had any reported cases of the swine flu here at LES,” Terry Marsh said when contacted by telephone on Monday afternoon, November 9th. “A few have been reported sick with the seasonal flu but our absentee list is normal for this time of the year. We’ve taken extra precautions such as cleaning the student’s desk tops a couple of times a day and we emphasize how important hand washing is in the classrooms.”

All school officials have worked toward teaching the children preventive measures and hand sanitizer is offered in all the schools at specific locations.

And according to Frances Reece, the Director of the Macon County Health Department, they now have the H1N1 injectable vaccine available and they held a clinic on Saturday, November 7th at their location on Hwy. 52 By Pass East.

“We have actually been taking names as they call us at the department,” Frances said on Monday afternoon, “and we told them where to be on Saturday and at what time to prevent any confusion or the possibility of being faced with the dilemma of turning someone away. And hopefully within the next couple of weeks we will be able to hold another clinic, which allows us to see more patients in a shorter amount of time.”

“We are targeting the high risk patients,” Frances continued, “who according to the CDC are children 6 months and up, pregnant women, health care workers, individuals who care for babies or have babies under 6 months old in the home, and anyone through age 64 with a chronic medical condition. It is not recommended for anyone over 65 years old as we are not seeing this strain of the flu in that population.”

Check with your local physicians or the Macon County Health Department for more information on the vaccination and be sure and take the preventive steps in your home.