Mild Cases of H1N1 Still Appearing

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 5:58 am

To date, the Minnesota Department of Health has identified 16 probable and two confirmed cases of the H1N1 novel influenza in Minnesota. All of the cases so far have been mild. More severe cases will likely appear as MDH focuses its testing on hospitalized cases.

Four of the new probable cases are connected with Emerson Spanish Immersion School in Minneapolis. This brings to five the number of cases connected with the school, which remains open. The first case was identified Sunday by MDH. School officials have communicated with all staff and parents of students at the school.

MDH officials are contacting school superintendents when new cases are identified in schools. School officials are then communicating directly with staff and parents. MDH is also implementing a tracking system to monitor absenteeism in schools. Because the H1N1 virus appears to be behaving like seasonal influenza at this time, MDH officials expect to see more cases of the virus in schools, businesses and communities across the state.

MDH officials encourage people in high-risk groups to avoid contact with people who are ill, and to contact their physicians if they begin experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, and, in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting. High-risk groups include:

* Children under five
* Persons 65 and older
* Pregnant women
* Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary disorders (including asthma), cardiovascular problems (except hypertension), and renal, hepatic, hematological, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
* Adults and children who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV)
* Adults and children who have any condition that can compromise respiratory function or the handling of respiratory secretions or that can increase the risk for aspiration (e.g., cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other neuromuscular disorders)
* Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.

MDH officials are also reminding people that they have a role in controlling the spread of infections like influenza. Stay home if you’re sick, cover your cough, wash your hands frequently and limit your contact with people who you think might be sick.

MDH will continue to provide daily updates on H1N1 novel influenza in Minnesota at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/flu/h1n1/index.html.

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