Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals officials announced today that 11 more of the state’s probable cases of H1N1 influenza (swine flu) have been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This increases the state’s total confirmed case count from nine to 20. The state’s total probable case count now stands at 29, which includes the addition of seven new probable cases: one from Jefferson Parish, three from Plaquemines Parish, two from St. Charles Parish and one from Vermillion Parish. These seven new probable cases had onset of illness on or before May 2 and are currently being investigated by state epidemiologists.
Of the 11 newly confirmed cases, seven are from Lafayette Parish, three are from Lafourche Parish and one is from St. Landry Parish. All citizens with confirmed and suspected cases have recovered or are recovering at home. None are hospitalized and none are considered to be at high risk of complications from influenza.
"As we suspected, our state has additional confirmed cases of the new H1N1 flu. While this new flu strain has proven to be milder than first thought, we continue to encourage all Louisianans to practice good hygiene to help prevent the spread of germs and illness. Our staff and public health experts remain watchful and continue to work with health care providers statewide on tracking this virus,” said DHH Secretary Alan Levine.
In accordance with CDC guidelines, DHH changed its guidance on May 7 for health care providers and the public about who should see a doctor, get tested and receive treatment for H1N1 flu.
CDC and DHH recommend testing and treatment be prioritized for patients whose symptoms indicate the need for hospitalization or for hospitalized patients with influenza-like illness, including those at high risk for complications from the flu.
People at high risk for complications from influenza include children under five years old, especially those under two years old; adults 65 years of age and older; pregnant women; and people with existing respiratory, pulmonary and certain other conditions.
It is expected that most people with novel H1N1 flu will recover without needing medical care or testing to see if they have H1N1 flu. Because this flu is so widespread, there is little need to continue testing people with mild or moderate illness that would normally be managed at home.
However if patients have severe illness, or are at high risk for flu complications, they should contact their health care provider by phone for advice about further medical care. The health care provider should focus on illness severity and test and treat the cases which require hospitalization or are considered high risk.
People with influenza-like illness should isolate themselves from others. Stay home for seven days or until symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. People who care for other people (children, elderly, hospitalized) with influenza-like illness should follow the same guidelines for the people in their care.
Probable H1N1 CASES
• Lafayette Parish – 16
• Plaquemines – 3
• St. Charles – 2
• Ascension – 1
• Beauregard - 1
• Iberia – 1
• Jefferson – 1
• Livingston – 1
• Orleans – 1
• St. Landry – 1
• Vermillion – 1
TOTAL – 29
CDC-CONFIRMED H1N1 CASES
• Lafayette – 14
• Lafourche - 3
• Ascension – 1
• Orleans – 1
• St. Landry - 1
TOTAL – 20
CDC-NEGATIVE H1N1 CASES
• St. Martin – 1
• St. Tammany - 1
TOTAL – 2
Protecting Your Family
As the agency does each day, Secretary Levine reminds citizens to take a cautious, common-sense approach to prevent the spread of influenza.
Make sure you:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid close contact with sick people.
Visit www.FluLa.com for the latest information on the H1N1 virus.