*Update* “Swine Flu” Confirmed in Minnesota
Testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the illness of a Minnesota resident was caused by the H1N1 novel influenza virus.
A lab specimen was submitted to CDC for testing after preliminary tests by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) identified the patient’s illness as a “probable” infection with the new influenza strain.
Additional testing by CDC was needed to determine if the patient had the unusual new strain of influenza.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty:
The person who became ill with the unusual virus has ties to Rocori Middle School in Cold Spring. Both the middle school and St. Boniface Elementary, which shares some facilities with the middle school, have been closed since the illness was identified by MDH as probable H1N1 flu on Tuesday night.
According to information currently available on the CDC Web site, 91 laboratory confirmed cases of the illness have occurred to date in the U.S., in addition to the case just confirmed in Minnesota. There has been one death in the U.S. from the new flu strain.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan
As public health agencies across the nation continue to focus their efforts on containing the new virus, MDH officials are reminding people that we all have a role to play in limiting the spread of illnesses like H1N1 flu. They are reminding people that you can protect yourself from influenza and other respiratory diseases by staying home if you’re sick, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, and limiting your contact with people who you think might be sick.
Watching your own health can also protect you. If you have traveled within the past week to Mexico or other areas where H1N1 novel influenza is circulating, and you develop fever along with other flu symptoms, call your health care provider. Tell them about your symptoms and travel history. For more information on novel influenza please visit the MDH Web site at www.health.state.mn.us or contact your health care provider.
Members of the public with questions about the current international outbreak of H1N1 influenza can call the MDH hotline between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-657-3903. Stearns County has also opened a hotline for local residents. The number is 320-650-5802 and it is answered from, 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.