Health District Confirms Additional H1N1 Cases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 11, 2009

LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Health District received confirmation that seven samples tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus in Clark County residents, which brings to nine the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza locally. The samples were confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the state public health laboratory. Currently, there are six additional Clark County samples pending. Further updates of confirmed or probable cases will be posted on the Southern Nevada Health District website by 10 a.m. Monday – Friday.

The recently confirmed cases include five school age children: a four-year-old girl, a 12-year-old girl, a 13-year-old boy, and two 16-year-old boys. In keeping with CDC guidelines, school closures are not recommended. The students became ill between April 28 and May 3. Each child had a mild illness and has recovered. The other patients are a 24-year-old man who had a mild illness and a 40-year old woman who also had a mild form of the illness. Both adults have recovered. The adult woman is a contact of the four-year-old child. None of the seven were hospitalized. Southern Nevada’s first reported confirmed cases occurred in an 11- year-old boy who has recovered, and a 39 year-old woman who was hospitalized and has since been released.

Probable cases are defined as patients who have tested positive for influenza A virus infection but whose samples have not had confirmatory testing for the H1N1 virus. Samples were initially submitted to the CDC for confirmatory testing. However, the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory in Reno and Las Vegas have recently received CDC test kits to perform confirmatory testing. The Las Vegas lab is awaiting certification from the CDC to implement its H1N1 testing kits. To date, nearly 99 percent of probable H1N1 influenza cases were confirmed as positive through CDC testing.

Several cases of more severe illness and three deaths have been reported in the United States, but for the most part cases have been fairly mild. The current strain of swine flu is thought to be circulating throughout communities the same way seasonal flu spreads. Individuals who are ill should avoid traveling or attending public events to minimize the spread of influenza or any other infectious illness.

Current recommendations to the public encourage good health habits to minimize the spread of influenza:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Individuals who become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea may want to contact their health care provider. Only a health care provider can determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. As with seasonal flu, swine flu infection can be serious in some people. While swine flu viruses can infect humans, the current strain circulating in our community is made of genes from four different types of flu viruses, including those found in swine, birds and humans. The name “swine flu” actually refers to the origin of some of the pieces of the virus and is not related to how this particular disease is spread or the source of infection in the community. The current strain of the virus appears only to be spreading from person to person and swine have not been found to be infected. Also, there is no risk of being infected with any type of swine flu from consuming pork products.

Updated information is available on the Southern Nevada Health District website, www.SouthernNevadaHealthDistrict.org as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site, www.cdc.gov. In addition, the Nevada Helpline is available in English and Spanish, (1-866) 767-5038 or (702) 759-INFO (4636).

Visit the Media Contacts webpage for media related inquiries.

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