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H1N1 now present throughout SW Va.

Christiansburg – The novel H1N1 (swine) flu virus continues to circulate at low levels across Virginia, including the New River Valley.
The New River Health District (NRHD), in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), continues to monitor flu activity–for both the novel H1N1 (swine) flu and the seasonal flu– through reports of influenza-like illness (“ILI”) provided from hospital emergency departments, urgent care centers, and other sentinel health care providers. NRHD and VDH also collect data on illnesses from school absenteeism and from physicians who volunteer to provide this information. “We are monitoring flu activity in the region and also gathering State, national, and worldwide information to help keep us informed about and protected from both types of flu, as well as from other communicable and vaccine-preventable diseases,” says Dr. Jody Hershey, Director of NRHD.
Symptoms of ILI often appear rapidly, and include cough, body aches, sore throat, fatigue, and especially fever. An individual diagnosed with ILI may have seasonal flu, novel H1N1 flu, neither, both, or some other bacterial or viral infection with similar symptoms. “Rapid tests” (swabs which give immediate results), common in doctors’ offices and other clinical settings, cannot confirm or exclude the novel H1N1 virus. Lab tests to confirm H1N1 often take several days, so many physicians make treatment decisions without waiting for or relying on lab confirmation of H1N1, which may come after the patient is recovering or even completely well.
Confirming an H1N1 infection with a lab test is not necessary, and here’s why:
Testing for novel H1N1 currently makes no difference in treatment. Treatment is based on medical judgment, severity of symptoms and the likelihood of complications from influenza infections of any type.
Testing for novel H1N1 makes no difference for exclusion from school, work, or public gatherings. Anyone with ILI – especially fever – should be excluded from school, work, or other public gatherings regardless of test results. They should keep themselves isolated from others for at least 24 hours after the fever has resolved without fever reducing agents such as acetaminophen.
Testing for novel H1N1 won’t tell you where the virus is or isn’t. The novel H1N1 virus is circulating throughout Virginia, and may be present in any place where people gather: including schools, workplaces, restaurants, stores, and places of worship.
A person may be carrying and sharing viruses without having symptoms, or may be ill but not sick enough to go to a doctor. “The potential for unrecognized exposures is all around us,” says Paige Bordwine, Epidemiologist of the NRHD. “It’s possible every day for you and your children to have unrecognized exposures. And while removing a sick individual from a group helps to minimize the opportunity for transmission, it doesn’t eliminate that risk.”
“The answer is careful personal hygiene, every day and everywhere,” concludes Brenda Burrus, Nurse Manager Senior, of the NRHD. “This includes frequent and thorough hand washing, good cough and sneeze etiquette, and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. In addition, anyone who is ill with a fever should not be in school or mingling with the public. And everyone should plan to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, available now, and the H1N1 vaccine, as soon as it’s available.”
Seasonal flu vaccine is or will be available at a number of selected locations, including schools, health departments, hospitals, medical clinics, and doctors’ offices, pharmacies, drug stores, grocery stores, and specially-scheduled clinics. The vaccine for novel H1N1 flu is expected to be available in October, at many of the same locations.

For more information about seasonal flu and H1N1 flu, call VDH’s flu hotline at 1-877-ASK-VDH3 (1-877-275-8343) or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov and www.flu.gov.

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H1N1 now present throughout SW Va.

Christiansburg – The novel H1N1 (swine) flu virus continues to circulate at low levels across Virginia, including the New River Valley.
The New River Health District (NRHD), in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), continues to monitor flu activity–for both the novel H1N1 (swine) flu and the seasonal flu– through reports of influenza-like illness (“ILI”) provided from hospital emergency departments, urgent care centers, and other sentinel health care providers. NRHD and VDH also collect data on illnesses from school absenteeism and from physicians who volunteer to provide this information. “We are monitoring flu activity in the region and also gathering State, national, and worldwide information to help keep us informed about and protected from both types of flu, as well as from other communicable and vaccine-preventable diseases,” says Dr. Jody Hershey, Director of NRHD.
Symptoms of ILI often appear rapidly, and include cough, body aches, sore throat, fatigue, and especially fever. An individual diagnosed with ILI may have seasonal flu, novel H1N1 flu, neither, both, or some other bacterial or viral infection with similar symptoms. “Rapid tests” (swabs which give immediate results), common in doctors’ offices and other clinical settings, cannot confirm or exclude the novel H1N1 virus. Lab tests to confirm H1N1 often take several days, so many physicians make treatment decisions without waiting for or relying on lab confirmation of H1N1, which may come after the patient is recovering or even completely well.
Confirming an H1N1 infection with a lab test is not necessary, and here’s why:
Testing for novel H1N1 currently makes no difference in treatment. Treatment is based on medical judgment, severity of symptoms and the likelihood of complications from influenza infections of any type.
Testing for novel H1N1 makes no difference for exclusion from school, work, or public gatherings. Anyone with ILI – especially fever – should be excluded from school, work, or other public gatherings regardless of test results. They should keep themselves isolated from others for at least 24 hours after the fever has resolved without fever reducing agents such as acetaminophen.
Testing for novel H1N1 won’t tell you where the virus is or isn’t. The novel H1N1 virus is circulating throughout Virginia, and may be present in any place where people gather: including schools, workplaces, restaurants, stores, and places of worship.
A person may be carrying and sharing viruses without having symptoms, or may be ill but not sick enough to go to a doctor. “The potential for unrecognized exposures is all around us,” says Paige Bordwine, Epidemiologist of the NRHD. “It’s possible every day for you and your children to have unrecognized exposures. And while removing a sick individual from a group helps to minimize the opportunity for transmission, it doesn’t eliminate that risk.”
“The answer is careful personal hygiene, every day and everywhere,” concludes Brenda Burrus, Nurse Manager Senior, of the NRHD. “This includes frequent and thorough hand washing, good cough and sneeze etiquette, and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. In addition, anyone who is ill with a fever should not be in school or mingling with the public. And everyone should plan to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, available now, and the H1N1 vaccine, as soon as it’s available.”
Seasonal flu vaccine is or will be available at a number of selected locations, including schools, health departments, hospitals, medical clinics, and doctors’ offices, pharmacies, drug stores, grocery stores, and specially-scheduled clinics. The vaccine for novel H1N1 flu is expected to be available in October, at many of the same locations.

For more information about seasonal flu and H1N1 flu, call VDH’s flu hotline at 1-877-ASK-VDH3 (1-877-275-8343) or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov and www.flu.gov.

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