June 26, 2009
State Public Health Director Reminds Illinoisans to Remain Vigilant and Encourages Continued Preventative Measures Against H1N1 Influenza
Illinois has 2,875 confirmed and probable H1N1 influenza cases, 12 deaths
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health Director, is again reminding the public that the H1N1 influenza continues to circulate in Illinois and people should continue to take preventative steps to stay healthy and limit the spread of the virus. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting 2,875 confirmed and probable cases of H1N1 influenza in Illinois, including 12 deaths.
Four of the Illinois H1N1 influenza related deaths were Chicago residents, five were suburban Cook County residents, one was a resident of Kane County, one was a resident of Lake County and one resident of LaSalle County. For confidentiality reasons and out of respect for the families, the Illinois Department of Public Health is not releasing any additional information about the 12 deaths.
“We are still seeing cases of H1N1 circulate in Illinois, in the U.S. and across the world. We expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations and even more deaths from this virus through the summer months in Illinois. That is why it is so important for people to continue to take precautions to keep themselves and their families from becoming ill and to keep from spreading illness,” said Dr. Arnold. “The best way to avoid illness and reduce its spread is by following the three “C’s” – clean your hands, cover your cough and sneeze, and contain your germs by staying home if you’re sick. I encourage everyone to follow these steps, especially those people with underlying health conditions. At this point in time, most of the people in Illinois who contracted H1N1 have not become seriously ill and have recovered without being hospitalized.”
Most people infected with the H1N1 Influenza virus so far have experienced regular flu symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and body aches. A significant number of people have reported vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone experiencing severe flu-like symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or confusion, should contact a medical professional right away. The virus continues to impact mostly younger people, so far it has not caused significant illness and death in the elderly as is normally seen with seasonal influenza.
Like seasonal influenza, some people may be at greater risk of serious complications related to novel H1N1 infection and illness. People who are at high risk of serious seasonal flu-related complications include pregnant women, children younger than 5-years-old, people with chronic medical conditions and people 65-years and older. Examples of chronic medical conditions include diabetes, asthma, heart disease and lung disease. Individuals with underlying conditions should contact their physician at the onset of illness and not wait for severe illness. Antiviral medications are most effective if given in the first 24 to 48 hours and there is the possibility antivirals can be prescribed to individuals at risk as a preventive measure.
People who become sick with a flu-like illness should stay home for seven days after symptoms begin or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
To help prevent the risk of serious complications from influenza, such as of pneumococcal disease, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reminding people to keep their immunizations up to date. Pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for the young, the elderly, and those with certain underlying and chronic conditions which include diabetes, chronic heart disease, asthma and people with compromised immune systems and may help prevent pneumococcal pneumonia in patients with influenza.
The Department will remain consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting protocols and will update H1N1 influenza cases and death on its Web site, www.idph.state.il.us, once a week on Fridays. Local health departments will have the most updated information. If there is a discrepancy between the state numbers and local health department number, data from the local health departments should be used as the most accurate number.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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