Officials indicate EP has no ‘swine flu’ cases

By: CARISSA HEBERT

Managing Editor

Dr. Tina Stefanski, administrator/regional medical director for the Office of Public Health Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), reported Friday, May 1, there have been no confirmed cases of the Swine Flu, also known as the H1N1 virus in Evangeline Parish as well as in the state.

Stefanski said if a person believes they have the flu, they should see their family doctor. Collection kits for the flu have been distributed to area health units and hospitals. Doctors will be collecting the kits to test the virus. The kit will be transferred to Metairie’s public health lab. If the strain of the virus cannot be identified there, the kit will be sent to Atlanta where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is located for testing purposes.

On Saturday, May 2, Governor Bobby Jindal reported DHH has identified additional cases suspected of the H1N1 virus, bringing the total number of suspected swine flu cases in Louisiana to 23. The DHH lab now has received a total of 673 cases to test for an indication of the H1N1 virus. They have already tested 294 samples and 379 more are pending.

Governor Jindal said, “The new suspected cases tested positive for type A Influenza, which indicates either seasonal or swine flu. DHH has sent all 23 of these suspected cases to the CDC for confirmation. We still have no confirmed cases of the swine flu in Louisiana, at this time, but the CDC has informed states the samples they are testing are having a high rate of positive results for the H1N1 virus. We continue to take the necessary precautions to protect people from the possible spread of illness wherever we can, especially in areas where we are seeing a cluster of possible swine flu cases.”

Of all 23 suspected cases DHH has sent to the CDC for confirmation testing, 17 are from Lafayette Parish, two are from Orleans and there is one each from Ascension, Beauregard, St. Martin and St. Tammany parishes.

Stefanski said only those with flu-like symptoms need to be tested. She said remember good hand washing skills, covering coughs and sneezes by coughing or sneezing into your arm and stay at home if you’re sick. She said these things will protect you and your family from any type of serious illness.

To learn more tips, etc., see the Louisiana State University Extension Office’s article on pages 1B and 2B in this paper.

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