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Tag Archive | "H1N1"

Fifth Flu-Related Death Reported in Kent County


GRAND RAPIDS – The Kent County Health Department received notification today of a fifth flu-related death: a man from Kent County over the age of 50. The initial test confirms the man was suffering from Influenza A/H1N1, the predominant strain people have been catching this season. The health department has no medical history on the man, so it is unclear if there were any known underlying medical conditions in this case.

“Health care providers report a leveling-off of cases of flu-like illness in recent weeks, but we still need to practice prevention,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department.

“In some years, we see flu season peaks as late as March. If you are suffering from the symptoms, consider seeking help from a health care provider, and stay home until you recover.” Kent County had five known flurelated deaths in the 2009-2010 season, the initial year that the H1N1 strain was circulating. There were no deaths reported in Kent County in 2012-2013.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. It takes 10 – 14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot. Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10 – 14 days before their immunity develops.

Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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Fourth flu-related death reported in Kent County


Testing has confirmed a recently-deceased individual was suffering from the flu. This is the fourth death in someone over the age of 50 in Kent County who was suffering from influenza. The initial test confirms influenza A, but not the strain. (Three earlier cases were H1N1.) In this case, there were additional, known underlying medical conditions. As of January 28, there were 583 reported flu cases in Kent County this season.

“This year, we’ve seen several tragic consequences connected to the flu,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “While three of the four cases had known pre-existing medical conditions, we know that the flu has impacted individuals of all ages and health levels.” Nationally, most of the cases of influenza being reported this year are H1N1, which in some cases leads to pneumonia and other severe respiratory issues.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. It takes 10-14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot. Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10 – 14 days before their immunity develops.

Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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H1N1 detected in three recent deaths


 

From the Kent County Health Department

Testing has confirmed three recent deaths in people over the age of 50 in Kent County who were suffering from influenza A (H1N1) virus. Two of the individuals also had other known medical complications; we do not have a medical history yet on the third person. There are over 400 reported flu cases in Kent County so far this season, and of those reported, at least 26 people have been hospitalized.

“In two of these cases, we are certain there were additional underlying medical conditions,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “We have seen, in other parts of the state, healthy young adults are becoming extremely ill from H1N1, as well as several deaths.”

In late December, the CDC issued an advisory, noting an increase in severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults due to H1N1 this year.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. The CDC recently reported that the influenza vaccination prevented approximately 6.6 million illnesses and 79,000 hospitalizations last year. It is critically important that people get a flu shot now. It takes 10—14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot.

Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10–14 days before their immunity develops. Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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H1N1 virus found in a cat


People are being urged to protect their family pets from exposure to sick family members after a cat in Iowa was found to be infected with the H1N1 virus last week.

The Iowa Department of Health and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reported that the 13-year-old indoor cat was brought to the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where it tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

“Two of the three members of the family that owns the pet had suffered from influenza-like illness before the cat became ill,” said Iowa DPH Veterinarian Dr. Ann Garvey. “This is not completely unexpected, as other strains of influenza have been found in cats in the past.” Both the cat and owners have recovered from their illness.

Until recently, the AVMA said it had no reason to believe pets could be infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus because it is uncommon for flu viruses to jump between species. However, on October 9, a USDA laboratory confirmed H1N1 infection in a ferret. Its owner had recently been ill with flu. Then the cat in Iowa was diagnosed on November 4.

“Indoor pets that live in close proximity to someone who has been sick are at risk and it is wise to monitor their health to ensure they aren’t showing signs of illness,” said Dr. David Schmitt, State Veterinarian for Iowa.

Experts recommend that if you are feeling ill, that you limit your contact with family pets, and watch for symptoms of respiratory illness in them. Signs can include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, runny nose and/or eyes, sneezing, coughing, or changes in breathing (including difficulty breathing).

Dogs also have their own flu virus, the H3N8 canine influenza virus going around. So far this has only spread dog to dog. Dogs infected with this virus show the same symptoms as kennel cough—fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, and maybe a runny nose.

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H1N1 vaccination arrives in Grand Rapids


Health department employee Ann Ivy unpacking the first shipment of novel H1N1 vaccination in a cooler Tuesday morning.

Health department employee Ann Ivy unpacking the first shipment of novel H1N1 vaccination in a cooler Tuesday morning.

The H1N1 vaccine will soon be available to the public in Kent County. According to the Kent County Health Department, they received 3,800 doses of the H1N1 novel vaccine Tuesday morning, and expect 16,000 doses to arrive this week.

These doses will be given to hospital medical personnel and emergency medical responders first. Most of the vaccine will be shipped directly to hospitals.

Subsequent deliveries will be dispensed in a variety of settings and are anticipated to arrive in Kent County within the month. Providers will dispense the vaccine first to people in the following priority groups:
•    healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
•    pregnant women
•    people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
•    people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old
•    people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
Once vaccination demand has been met for priority groups, vaccination will begin for anyone who would like the novel H1N1 influenza vaccination. Currently, no novel H1N1 influenza is available to the public. They anticipate that the vaccine will become available to everyone later this month. When it becomes available, H1N1 vaccine will be offered at participating doctors’ offices, retail outlets, and at all health department locations. KCHD is not taking appointments for vaccination at this time.

Please monitor (616) 742-4FLU and stickittotheflu.com for updates on the availability of novel H1N1 influenza vaccine in Kent County. Dates, times, and locations for novel H1N1 flu vaccinations will be posted as they become available.

For information on where to get the seasonal flu shot, please check with participating pharmacies and physicians or visit www.spectrum-health.org/flu to find a link for seasonal flu shot clinics. KCHD offers seasonal flu shots for children only. The flu hotline, (616) 742-4FLU has further details.

Finally, local health departments are responsible for distribution of novel H1N1 flu vaccine in respective jurisdictions. Please note that the process for distribution of vaccine in Kent County may differ from the process in neighboring jurisdictions. This could cause confusion in various reading, viewing, and listening areas, so it’s important to gather information specific to each jurisdiction.

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