Kentucky Laboratory Approved For H1N1 Confirmation
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) announced today that the State Public Health Laboratory has been approved to do confirmatory testing for H1N1 swine flu by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and has confirmed and reported seven additional cases. Kentucky has now reported ten confirmed cases of H1N1.
"We are pleased that the State Public Health Laboratory has been validated by the CDC," said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of DPH. "This will allow us to confirm cases of H1N1 in Kentucky more quickly, enhancing our surveillance efforts."
The cases that were confirmed and reported over the weekend involved residents of Hardin (1), Kenton (1), Boone (1), Boyle (1) and Jefferson (3) counties. Previously confirmed cases involved residents of Fayette (1), Daviess (1) and Warren (1) counties. Local health officials continue to investigate potential cases across the state. Due to the increase in the speed at which probable cases can now be confirmed, DPH will be releasing information only about confirmed cases to the media.
Kentucky health officials continue to ask that Kentuckians who have traveled recently to Mexico or other countries or communities within the U.S. where the new H1N1 influenza strain known as swine flu has been reported, or who are planning such travel, be alert for the symptoms of swine flu in the following ways:
− Monitor yourself and travel companions for symptoms of fever, chills, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches, and vomiting or diarrhea.
− If symptoms of illness develop within seven days of travel return, seek evaluation by a health care provider as soon as possible.
− Be sure to tell your health care provider about your recent travel and suggest testing for influenza.
− Stay home from work, school and other public places until you are feeling well.
People who have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with swine flu or who reside in communities where there are one or more confirmed swine flu cases should also be alert for these symptoms. Common sense precautions to prevent illness include: avoiding close contact with those who are ill; staying home when sick; covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth; and frequent hand washing.
"We remain concerned about the spread of H1N1 and continue to keep the public updated on recent developments in Kentucky," said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of DPH. "At this time, we continue to advise residents of the state to practice good health habits, including frequent hand washing and staying home from work or school if you’re sick.”
Currently, there are more than 2,500 confirmed cases of H1N1 swine flu reported in the U.S., a number that is expected to continue to grow. The World Health Organization and CDC have reported numerous human cases of a severe respiratory illness in at least three different regions of Mexico. The number of cases has risen steadily during April 2009. Laboratory testing of patient specimens has confirmed infections with swine influenza ("swine flu") A/H1N1 virus. This is a newly emerging, animal-origin strain of influenza that is now being spread from an infected person to another person.