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H1N1 Flu clusters in Southern Georgia schools

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  • H1N1 Flu clusters in Southern Georgia schools

    Published August 14, 2009 11:04 pm -

    Swine flu cases expected to rise

    MOULTRIE ? The influenza-like illnesses affecting students and staff in Southwest Georgia schools are being treated as a pandemic H1N1 flu clusters, even though not all of those who are sick have received positive test results for the infection, Southwest Health District Health Director Jacqueline Grant said.

    ?Public Health has been working closely with school systems, many of which are reporting incidents of flu-like illness,? Grant said. ?Pandemic H1N1 is in our district, so we are not surprised to see clusters popping up as schools reopen for the fall.?

    Once clusters, or groups in which everyone has similar symptoms, are identified, Grant said disease investigators need only one positive diagnosis and do not test everyone who has symptoms.

    ?Positive confirmation that one of the sick people in a group has H1N1 allows us, from an epidemiological standpoint, to treat everyone in the group with similar symptoms as H1N1 cases,? Grant said. ?By treatment, we mean that they are handled (for instance, placed in isolation until the parent arrives to pick them up, etc.) as if they had H1N1.?

    Not all persons with flu-like illnesses need medical treatment, Grant said.

    The majority of pandemic H1N1 flu cases are mild to moderate, with most patients recovering at home as they would with regular seasonal flu, Colquitt County Health Department County Nurse Manager Denise Linnenkohl said.

    ?Pandemic H1N1 flu is more contagious than regular seasonal flu, and it has a high attack rate in children and teens,? Linnenkohl said. ?The symptoms are fever, cough or sore throat, headache and fatigue. Many patients, especially young ones, are also experiencing nausea and vomiting. We are telling students and staff at schools who come down with flu symptoms to go to a room separate from others until they can go home.?

    Students and school staff should also wear surgical masks if possible so that droplets from coughs and sneezes carrying the virus won?t infect others, Linnenkohl said. People taking care of someone with flu-like illness should also wear protective gear.

    ?It is extremely important to stay home if you are sick until 24 hours after your fever is gone without using fever-reducing medicine,? Linnenkohl said.

    Further, people at high risk for flu complications who are in close contact with someone with flu-like symptoms, or if they become ill with symptoms of flu, should speak to their healthcare provider as soon as possible, Linnenkohl said.

    ?Early treatment with antiviral medicine is very important for people at high risk because it may prevent complications,? Grant said. ?People at high risk include those who are pregnant, have asthma or diabetes, have immune systems that don?t work well or have chronic illnesses like kidney disease, heart disease or cancer.?

    Because H1N1 flu is known to be circulating in Southwest Georgia, Grant said more people are expected to fall ill, especially now that schools are back in session.

    ?At this point,? Grant said, ?whether you are tested and actually diagnosed with H1N1 flu is less important than what you do if you become sick. Rapid flu tests are not 100 percent accurate for diagnosis of H1N1.?

    Grant offered the following recommendations for homecare for people with flu symptoms:

    ? Check with their healthcare provider about special care they may need if they have an underlying health condition.
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

  • #2
    Re: H1N1 Flu clusters in Southern Georgia schools

    Rapid flu tests do not work at all for H1N1. A coin flip is actually more accurate.


    • #3
      Re: H1N1 Flu clusters in Southern Georgia schools

      Anyone know when these children had returned to school?


      • #4
        Re: H1N1 Flu clusters in Southern Georgia schools

        School started back for most parts of Georgia this past Monday (10th); Cherokee County started back on the 3rd