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For Release: June 4, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

OSDH to Close H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Hotline

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today that due to declining call volume, the agency will discontinue operation of its novel influenza A (H1N1) hotline after close of business this Friday, June 5. More than 1,300 calls were placed to the hotline since it was first established on April 27, but recently, the number of calls has dropped.

The OSDH has also changed its method of reporting case confirmations of H1N1 influenza. Instead of daily posts on the OSDH H1N1 Web page, H1N1 influenza case counts are now updated twice weekly, on Monday and Thursday, by 2 pm. This change is an effort to transition to normal influenza surveillance operations during the summer months.

Currently 98 laboratory-confirmed cases of the new H1N1 influenza have been reported in 15 counties in Oklahoma. Sixty-five of these cases have occurred in children less than 18 years of age. Most affected persons have experienced symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches consistent with flu viruses, and have recovered at home; however, three cases with underlying medical conditions were known to be hospitalized.

The OSDH reminds all Oklahomans that the H1N1 flu virus is still being spread in the state and everyone should continue to practice the following recommendations to avoid illness:

-- 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 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.

Oklahomans can stay informed on the latest news regarding H1N1 influenza by visiting www.health.ok.gov and www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu, or by contacting your local county health department.




NOTE TO EDITORS: The OSDH is closing its operation of the H1N1 influenza (swine flu) hotline effective COB tomorrow, Friday, June 5. Please remove the hotline number and references to it from your respective Web sites.


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