'Swine' flu creeping toward Cannon
by KEVIN HALPERN
Monday, August 24, 2009 11:59 pm
While there were reports last week of cases of the swine flu (N1H1 virus) in neighboring counties, including at schools, local heath and education officials see no evidence that the disease has hit Cannon County.
"To my knowledge there have not been any reported cases of swine flu in Cannon County," Brenda Watts, the Interim Director of Nursing at Stones River Hospital, said.
"However, I do expect that this community will see cases, especially taking into consideration the cases currently identified in neighboring communities. It is just a matter of time."
According to officials with DeKalb Community Hospital, the sister facility to Stones River Hospital in Smithville, they have been inundated with cases. All reported cases have been mild and none have required admission.
There have also been cases reported in Warren and Rutherford counties.
Watts said Stones River Hospital has taken the necessary precautions to help prevent the spread of this flu within the hospital, in the event they occur.
"Protocols have been put into place so that our doctors and other staff will be able to quickly identify patients who might be suffering from H1N1," Watts said.
Watts also said the hospital had plans already in place to handle a possible outbreak of the disease in Cannon County.
"We know what to do when cases do arrive at the hospital so that patients will receive the care they need."
Cannon County Schools also has plans in place to control the spread of the H1N1 flu. Any child who is infected by the disease should stay home until 24 hours after all symptoms have ceased, according to Connie Foster, Director of Coordinated School Health for the school system.
"So far so good, which is surprising considering what is happening in school systems around us," Foster said when asked is any cases had been reported in Cannon schools.
Foster recommends doing to following to help reduce the spread of flu at your child's school and in the community at large?
• Teach your children to wash hands frequently with soap and water, and model the correct behavior.
• Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, and be sure to model that behavior.
• Teach your children to wash their hands after coughing and sneezing, and be sure to model that behavior.
• Teach your children to stay away from others as much as possible if they are sick. Stay home from work or school when you or your child is sick.
• Make plans now for child care at home if your child becomes ill or cannot go to school.
Parents or guardians questions or concerns regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Connie Foster, Director of Coordinated School Health, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-563-5752 x 245.
What is H1N1 (swine) flu?
H1N1 (referred to as "swine flu" early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
How serious is H1N1 (swine) flu infection?
Like seasonal flu, H1N1 (swine) flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after being infected with swine flu and died 8 days later. A swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused more than 200 cases with serious illness in several people and one death.
Is this H1N1 (swine) flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it not known how easily the virus spreads between people.
What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu in people?
The symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 (swine) flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with H1N1 (swine) flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 (swine) flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.