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Swine flu confirmed in Pike 13-year-old

The Georgia Public Health Laboratory has confirmed a 13 year old female from Pike County tested positive for novel H1N1 influenza (A). She has completely recovered and returned to school after being released from her physician. While there was some initial confusion, this confirmation will not affect the way an individual is treated or the overall response in the local medical community. ’Our predictions have always been that cases would occur and increase with school coming back into session. Because only a small proportion of persons with respiratory illness are now tested for novel H1N1, confirmed and probable case counts represent a significant underestimation of the true number of novel H1N1 flu cases,’ said Michael Brackett, M.D director for District 4 Public Health. ‘Because of the low testing rate, we should not use these as indicators of the presence of H1N1 in our commnity. Culture results for the most part are only of interest in determining, at the state and national level, the amount of severe disease related to this novel virus and for monitoring for genetic mutation of the virus.’ ’This is not something the medical practitioners nor the public in the community should be surprised or alarmed about. We should watch this carefully, but we expected this. This virus is back and in many cases never left. We believe that school absentee rates and number of visits for flu-like illness to the Doctors is a much more real time, cost effective and community relevant indicator of the amount of local disease. We are working on ways for that to be followed over the next few weeks and months,’ said Michael Brackett, M.D., Director for District 4 Public Health. Therefore, it is important for everyone to take steps to prevent contracting the flu and follow recommendations to prevent the further spread of illness. ’Public Health has been working closely with Pike County Emergency Services and Pike County School System to monitor this situation from the first notification of illness,’ said Brackett ‘I feel like Dr. Duncan and the staff of Pike County Schools are doing everything they can to prevent the further spread of illness. However, parents must share this responsibility by keeping children at home when they are sick.’ Currently, the CDC is recommending that anyone with a flu-like illness stay at home for 24 hours after fever has subsided without the use of fever-reducing medicine. However, any ill persons who work in a health care setting are being asked to isolate themselves for up to seven days until feeling better.

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