North Dakota Suspends Testing Of Suspected Swine Flu Cases

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Because North Dakota Department of Health surveillance indicates that the new H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu, is established in Ward County and being transmitted from person to person, the Department of Health will conduct laboratory testing only on suspected cases in Ward County that are hospitalized, according to State Epidemiologist Kirby Kruger.

Of the 18 probable and confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza reported in North Dakota, nine are from Ward County. The cases include a variety of age groups, from preteens to older adults.

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“Suspending routine testing in Ward County will allow us to focus on identifying cases throughout the state,” Kruger said. “We know swine flu is in the community; therefore, the most important things people can do to slow the spread of the disease are to cover their coughs and sneezes, wash their hands often, and stay home if they are sick.”

The H1N1 virus has been causing illness similar to seasonal influenza in terms of severity and length of illness. All of the cases in North Dakota thus far have recovered or are recovering at home. None have been hospitalized. However, like seasonal influenza, the new H1N1 virus can cause severe illness and even death in some cases.

Symptoms of H1N1 infection include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle and body aches, headache, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover at home, and medical care isn’t always needed.

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