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H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Confirmed in Oklahoma County
5/7/2009

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department Interim Director Robert Jamison announced today that a case of 2009 H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) virus has been confirmed in Oklahoma County in a child in the Deer Creek Schools.

The child was out of school from the onset of symptoms, but has since recovered and returned to school. The child was likely exposed through contact with a family member that became ill after traveling to Mexico. No additional cases have been identified from contact with this child.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department has been in communication with the Superintendent of Deer Creek Schools and is not recommending closure of schools or cancellation of school related events at this time.

According to Jamison, “We have been monitoring this case to limit exposure to others while confirmatory tests were pending. We have interviewed individuals who have been in contact with the patient and to date have not found anyone requiring testing.”

The symptoms of H1N1 influenza are similar to seasonal influenza and include fever greater than 100 degrees, body aches, coughing, sore throat, respiratory congestion, and in some cases, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Physicians in Oklahoma County who have patients with these symptoms and have traveled to Mexico or affected areas should send nasal and throat specimens to the state Public Health Laboratory for analysis.

“The virus is spread person-to-person, not by eating pork or pork products,” Jamison said. “There is no vaccine to prevent this new flu and the current flu vaccine used to prevent seasonal influenza will not provide protection against this new flu strain.”

Oklahoma County residents who experience flu-like symptoms should contact their physician. Some antiviral drugs may be used to treat persons at high risk of complications from the disease. Health officials caution that aspirin should not be given to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever. Instead, use medications such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and muscle aches associated with the flu. The use of aspirin in children has been associated with Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal disease in children, causing harmful effects to many organs, including the brain and liver.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department reminds the public to continue to practice these recommendations to prevent the spread of influenza:

  • Wash hands often to protect yourself from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; germs are often spread when a person touches a contaminated object and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or “sneeze in your sleeve.”
  • If you are sick, stay home from work, school, church, and running errands. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Persons with questions about H1N1 influenza may call:

Oklahoma City- County Health Department at (405) 425-4437

Oklahoma State Department of Health H1N1 influenza toll-free hotline at 1-866-278-7134 from 8 am to 8 pm

Additional information on H1N1 influenza is available by visiting www.occhd.com or www.health.ok.gov or www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu.

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