• By Quintana Stewart
  • Posted Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Status of H1N1 Influenza Outbreak

This week, the NC Division of Public Health announced confirmed North Carolina cases of Novel H1N1 Influenza virus infection. There have been no probable or confirmed cases in Forsyth County or the Triad at this time.

On the basis of the current situation, the Division of Public Health has determined that community transmission is occurring in North Carolina and has issued revised guidelines for testing and revised control measures. Only those individuals with an acute febrile respiratory illness (respiratory symptoms with significant fever – 100 degrees F or higher) who are also ill enough to be hospitalized will be tested for the novel H1N1 virus. Suspect cases will no longer be placed on mandatory isolation. All individuals with fever and respiratory symptoms will be urged to stay home from work, school, social events, etc. Such individuals should contact their health care providers to determine if it is necessary to seek medical attention.

The Federal government has distributed 25% of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) inventories for influenza pandemic response to the States. The State has distributed appropriate allocations of these inventories to the counties in NC, and those inventories have been further distributed among local health care providers in the communities according to our local Pandemic Influenza Plans. The inventories include antiviral medications (oseltamivir and zanamivir) and personal protective equipment (respirators and surgical masks). At this time the existing local stores of antiviral medications and personal protective equipment (PPE) have been adequate to meet the demand in this community. The involved providers are currently developing the details of a plan to make the SNS resources available to the community if and when they are needed. At this time, antiviral medications are recommended only for treatment of suspect, probable and confirmed cases and medically high risk contacts of their household or other close contacts. The PPE is intended primarily for individuals who are likely to have frequent contact with sick individuals, such as health care workers and emergency response workers. At this time there are no recommendations or indications to distribute any of these resources directly to the public.

Public health professionals at the Federal, State, and local levels continue to monitor the progress of the outbreak and will adjust such recommendations as indicated to provide maximum protection for the public. The Division of Public Health continues to hold daily conference calls with the local health departments. Local health department staff, hospital and other health care provider staff, emergency management and other first response provider (fire, rescue, law enforcement, etc.) staff, and other representatives form educational institutions and local government are meeting regularly to reassess the situation and to respond as necessary.

Visit the N.C. Public Health website for more information about influenza prevention efforts in North Carolina. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about the on-going H1N1 flu event nationally.

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