Swine flu case confirmed in Gadsden County

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By The Staff

The Gadsden County Health Department was notified today of the first confirmed case of the novel H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, in Gadsden County. The Gadsden County Health Department continues to work closely with other health care partners to monitor the situation.

“At this time it is recommended that providers manage patients with influenza-like illness as they normally would during flu season,” said Cannella Jefferies, nursing director, Gadsden County Health Department. “Patients at high risk for complications should be treated with antivirals, like Tamiflu and Relenza, as should their high risk contacts.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines “high risk” as people who have various chronic medical conditions, are 65 years old or older, are pregnant or are younger than 5 years old.

Symptoms of the novel H1N1 flu are similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal flu and include fever greater than 100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the novel H1N1 flu. Like seasonal flu, this novel flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

“We urge all residents and visitors to follow the CDC’s recommendations listed below to minimize the spread of the flu,” said Marlon Hunter, administrator of the Gadsden County Health Department.

If you have a respiratory illness, stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections, including influenza, to others in the community.

Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear ill. Wash your hands frequently to lessen the spread of respiratory illness. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.

If you think you have the flu, please call your health care provider and discuss whether you need to be seen in their office, the emergency department or stay home.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Gadsden County Health Department’s Epidemiology line at 850-875-7200 or go online at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.