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Louisiana Vernon has five cases of swine flu

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  • Louisiana Vernon has five cases of swine flu

    Vernon has five cases of swine flu

    Office organized a bake sale Monday to benefit Vernon Parish Sheriff?s Deputy Jimmy Lukasik who is currently listed in critical condition at the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport.

    Bailey's Bakery of Leesville donated about 10 cakes, including this one, auctioned to Byrd Hospital for $500. Shown with Richardson are Byrd Hospital officials Sam Fulton and Roger LeDoux.
    By Tammy Sharp
    Leesville Daily Leader
    Tue Aug 18, 2009, 08:00 AM CDT


    Leesville, La. -
    Rumors that Vernon Parish Sheriff?s Deputy Jimmy Lukasik is suffering from H1N1 remain unconfirmed, but there are at least five lab confirmed cases of the virus in Vernon Parish.
    Lukasik, 51, is currently listed in critical condition at the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport. The deputy first sought medical treatment at Byrd Regional Hospital at the end of July for what has now become a ?severe respiratory infection,? according to other sheriff?s department officials. He was later transferred to Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria, and on Friday, Aug. 7, Lukasik was transported to the LSU Shreveport Medical Center.
    The five confirmed cases were as of Aug. 10 and reported in the state's Influenza Surveillance Report supplied to the Leesville Daily Leader by
    Dr. David Holcomb, reginoal administrator/ medical director for the Louisiana Office of Public Health for region six, which includes Vernon, Rapides, Grant, Winn, Lasalle,Catahoula, Condordia and Avoyelles parishes, a 350,000 population base.
    Whether Lukasik is among those cannot be confirmed by anyone other than a family member, said Holcomb, referring to HIPPA laws.
    The number of cases reported in the parish changes from week to week, said Holcomb. In addition there are likely many more than five cases because testing has been reduced to sentinal surveillance sites, including hospital emergency department (ED), laboratories and physicians' offices. Sentinel sites provide weekly data on Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and/or laboratory confirmed cases.
    "(Lukasik) will have been tested for it, because anyone with upper respiratory illnesses severe enough to warrant hospitalization will be tested," said Holcomb. "That's current CDC (Centers for Disease Control) protocol."
    Holcomb said that individuals with severe chronic illnesses such as diabetes or renal insufficiency are more likely to be hospitalized with H1N1.
    There are 346 lab confirmed cases of novel H1N1 in Louisiana as of August 7, 2009, according to the report. The estimate based on an extrapolation to Louisiana from CDC national estimate, is that there has been about 20,000 cases in Louisiana.
    Region six has had 16 documented H1N1 cases, said Holcomb, with four in Catahoula, four in Lasalle, six in Rapides and five in Vernon.
    The fatality rate, however, is low.
    "It's still relativiey benign as far as its case fatality ratio," said Holcombe.
    To put H1N1 into perspective, Holcomb referenced the 1918 Spanish flu, which had a two percent case fatality ratio. Two out of 100 people who got the Spanish flu would die, he said. That is extraordinary and is not the case now.
    The rules are still the same, Holcomb said. "If you're ill, stay at home. Most don't have to be treated unless there are other conditions."
    Make use of hand sanitizer and avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand, he added.
    Above all, get vaccinated in October against the seasonal flu and, if you are a priority, get vaccinated against H1N1.
    Holcomb said that vaccination will likely come out in December. The whole stock will be bought up by the federal government. The vaccination will be given out by priority in the following order: pregnant women; children six months to four years; health care workers; and caregivers for very young children.
    The elderly are not prioritized because it appears those born before 1957 have some sort of residual immunity to H1N1, Holcomb said.
    An emergency replenishment blood drive was conducted Thursday for Lukasik, and on Monday, the Vernon Parish Tax Assesor's Office, The Vernon Parish Clerk of Court and the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office conducted a bake sale, raising more than $1,700 to be given to the deputy's family to help with medical expenses.
    "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