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New Flu Virus (H1N1) Update – May 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm

posted May 11, 2009, 12:33 PM by Santa Clara County Public Health Dept   [ updated May 11, 2009, 12:34 PM ]

A new “probable” case of H1N1 flu has been reported in a 41 year old male from Santa Clara. As with previous cases, this “probable” case will be treated as a confirmed case of this new flu. Currently there are 18 cases of the new flu (H1N1) in Santa Clara County, seven confirmed cases and 11 probable cases.

As this new flu (H1N1) outbreak unfolded over the last two weeks, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department took a cautious approach to ensure the public’s health. Information gathered over the last week in Santa Clara County and elsewhere in the country shows that most U.S. cases have been mild and very much like seasonal influenza.

Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Health Officer for Santa Clara County, has been pleased with the County’s response. “Two weeks ago, we didn’t know how quickly or easily this virus would spread, nor how severe it could become”, said Dr. Fenstersheib. “In our exercises and planning for pandemic flu, we always envisioned a ‘worse case scenario’ with a much more severe virus. Luckily, this has not occurred. While this is still a mild flu, it is still a new flu, to which people do not have immunity and there is no vaccine. Our community needs to continue to take common sense actions to protect their own health.”

Dr. Marty Fenstersheib has re-issued guidance to school district superintendents based on the CDC’s recommendations. The Public Health Department will no longer routinely close schools and childcare centers if a case of the new flu virus is identified. Instead, the focus will be on keeping INDIVIDUAL students and staff, with flu symptoms, out of school.

Additional cases of the new flu continue to be identified and Dr. Fenstersheib is reminding the public to remain vigilant in monitoring and protecting their health:

  • If sick persons exhibit a fever and any of the following: stuffy nose, sore throat, and/or coughing they should stay at home and limit contact with healthy persons.
  • Sick persons should stay home for at least 7 days after they first show flu symptoms or until they stop having any symptoms, whichever is longer.
  • Sick person(s) should try to stay away from people who are well. It is especially important to stay away from those who may be more likely to get very sick, like infants and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, or those with chronic diseases.
  • If you are sick, think about wearing a surgical mask so that you don’t spread the virus to others. And wash your hands frequently for the same reason – so that you don’t spread the flu to others.
  • Change and throw away masks when they become moist.
  • If the sick person is not wearing a mask, they should cover their mouth and nose with tissues when coughing or sneezing.
  • Limit the number of people taking care of the sick family member.
  • Caregivers should wash their hands after they have contact with the sick person.
  • Keep windows open to circulate air.
  • Keep common area surfaces clean.
  • Do not have visitors in your home while the person is sick.

For information about the new flu virus, H1N1, please call the California Department of Public Health toll-free hotline at 1-888-865-0564 (Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

On the web, for more information about the new flu virus (H1N1), visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu or for Spanish, visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/espanol/

Santa Clara County Public Health Dept,
May 11, 2009, 12:34 PM