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Confirmations on H1N1 virus still coming in for Lee County residents

By Staff | May 22, 2009

With 19 cases of swine flu now confirmed, Lee County ranks third in the state for people afflicted with the H1N1 virus.
Confirmations for H1N1 virus cases have been slowing trickling in for residents affected in Lee County, officials said Friday.
Confirmation of the type of flu dose not change the diagnosis prescribed by a doctor but does provide surveillance for public health officials to monitor the spread and severity of infection.
“So far, the level of severity of the H1N1 virus has been less than was first predicted by the Centers for Disease Control. For those residents in Lee County that were affected, symptoms have been less than or equal to seasonal influenza” said Judith A. Hartner, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., Director of the Lee County Health Department, in a prepared statement.
Since April when the first cases of swine flu were identified in Lee County residents, 104 specimens have been submitted to state laboratories for testing. Currently, only 18.2 percent, or 19, have tested positive for the H1N1 virus. For the remaining specimens, 31.7 percent, 33, were seasonal influenza A and 40.3 percent, 42, were negative for the H1N1 virus.
For Lee County, the trend appears to be mirroring the state and national trends where the majority of cases are concentrated in children, officials said. The median age for confirmed cases in Lee County is 8 years old but range from toddlers to middle-aged adults that reside throughout the county.
Currently with 19 confirmations, Lee County ranks third in the state for the number of H1N1 cases. This represents approximately 14 percent of the confirmed cases in Florida. Only Dade and Broward Counties have more with 24.03 percent, 31, and 15.50 percent, 20, respectively. However, Florida ranks along with 15 other states which are reporting localized influenza activity, whereas, 18 states are reporting regional or widespread outbreaks.
Flu season also has lingered around the country longer than usual, officials said. For this reason, the Lee County Health Department continues to urge people to wash their hands frequently, stay home from work or school if they feel ill, and cover their mouths with a tissue or their sleeve if they are coughing. These common sense precautions will greatly reduce the risk of transmission of all flu virus whether seasonal or swine flu.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised people with chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women to be especially vigilant to prevent against infection. If someone experiences flu-like symptoms they should contact their health care providers or hospital for instructions about receiving treatment.

Source: Lee County Health Department