San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 23rd, 2009
Hays County sees increase in flu-like symptoms

STAFF REPORT

The Hays County Personal Health Department (HCPHD) is reporting an increase in flu-like symptoms around the county and is urging citizens to continue taking personal hygiene steps to lessen the severity and spread of what is suspected to be the Novel H1N1 virus.

HCPHD responded to a camp near Wimberley on June 19, to collect specimens from five ill campers. The samples were sent to the Scott & White Hospital Lab in Temple, TX, for testing. Following an initial positive result for Influenza A, the lab confirmed the presence of the Novel H1N1 virus.

“We began treatment Saturday of those five campers and 40 others who exhibited flu symptoms with Tamiflu®, one of the drugs of choice to treat flu-like symptoms and lessen the severity and duration of the illness,” Hays County Personal Health Department Director Priscilla Hargraves said. “We are also treating other campers and staff at that site as a precaution with prophylactic doses of Tamiflu as prescribed by CDC guidelines for the Novel H1N1 virus, and many of those who had symptoms are already symptom-free.”

Additionally, staff at the Hays County Juvenile Detention Center on June 23, reported residents with flu-like symptoms. Treatment and monitoring is taking place there, as well.

“It is important to remember that we all still need to take steps to mitigate the spread and severity of this flu,” Hargraves said. “We urge all residents to continue to practice good hygiene. If you have symptoms, avoid other people until 24 hours after you are symptom-free. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, properly discard used tissues and wash your hands frequently. These are some of the best ways to prevent any type of flu. Sick individuals should stay at home, avoid contact with others and follow the advice of their health care provider.”

HCPHD is working closely with local, regional and state health authorities to monitor the situation and respond if needed. Additional information about the H1N1 virus is available at the Texas Department of State Health Services and Centers for Disease Control websites.

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