Archive for Friday, May 1, 2009

Swine flu cases presumed in Johnson, Wyandotte counties

May 1, 2009, 4:55 p.m.

Updated: May 4, 2009, 10:56 a.m.

For more swine flu information
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has established a phone number for concerned Kansans to call with questions about the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus. The toll-free number is 1 (877) 427-7317.  Operators will be available to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Persons calling will be directed to press “1” on their touch-tone phone to be directed to an operator who can answer questions. Kansans with questions about the virus can email H1N1fluinfo@kdheks.gov. Information is also available from KDHE online.

Swine flu cases in Johnson County — one suspected, the other presumptive — increased to two over the weekend. And now Wyandotte County has its first presumptively confirmed case of the virus.

“Presumptively confirmed” means that while tests performed at the Kansas Department of Health and Environement laboratory have indicated the presence of the epidemic strain, the results have not yet been verified by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

KDHE this morning said the Johnson County probable case involves an adult who has traveled to Mexico, the epicenter of the current outbreak. The person remains hospitalized. Johnson County's presumptive case involves a Texas resident visiting the area. That patient is being treated but is not hospitalized,

The Wyandotte County case, KDHE said, involved a male child in Wyandotte County. The patient was hospitalized, but has since been discharged and has fully recovered, KDHE said.

“I am not surprised to see additional cases in Kansas,” said Jason Eberhart-Phillips, state health officer and director of the Division of Health at KDHE. “But the distribution of new cases is revealing. It tells us that the virus has probably entered the state on multiple occasions from multiple sources.”

He noted that until the Wyandotte County case was presumptively confirmed late yesterday, all cases in the state had been associated with travel to areas with known transmission of the virus.

“The child in the Wyandotte County case had not recently traveled away from the Kansas City metro area, or come into contact with anyone who had been to an area known to be affected by the epidemic,” Dr. Eberhart-Phillips said. “This suggests that the virus may be getting a foothold in that area.”

In a news release, the department said a specimen from the patient was sent Thursday to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment laboratory. KDHE said results of confirmatory testing on that patient at the state lab were inconclusive, and further tests at CDC were still pending Monday.

“As soon as we know more, we absolutely want to communicate that with the public," Mitchell said.

The total for confirmed and probable swine flu cases in Kansas now stands at six. A Dickinson County couple were the first, and the other is in Sedgwick County. Officials in Platte County, Mo., north of Kansas City, have confirmed the Show-Me State's first case of swine flu.

Health officials recommend individuals take standard precautions to avoid getting ill such as washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when you are sick. Travel to Mexico is also not recommended at this time.

Symptoms of H1N1 Influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Anyone experiencing these symptoms are advised to contact a healthcare provider.

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