Swine Flu Update
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tammy G. Love
Director of Marketing & Medical Staff Development
Phone: (336) 651-8116
By CHARLES S. WILLIAMS
Wilkes Journal-Patriot Staff
Wilkes County Health Department officials reported this morning that there had now been five "suspect" cases of the "novel H1N1" flu (the "new" government name for the swine flu virus) in the county, but three of those five have tested negative.
"We are glad to report that the initial two patients who underwent testing had negative tests," said Beth Lovette, the director of the Wilkes County Health Department. "We had another case on Friday afternoon, and that test was also negative. There were two other suspect cases over the weekend, and those test results are pending."
One of the "suspect" patients who was ruled negative, was hospitalized at Wilkes Regional Medical Center. The two whose test results are pending are under treatment at their homes.
North Carolina has reported one confirmed case of the novel H1N1 virus, in Onslow County. Because of that one confirmed case, the state has changed its guidelines for testing. The State Lab, following CDC guidelines, will now only test lab specimens from individuals with flu-like symptoms who are sick enough for their physician to hospitalize them. Testing will continue to be monitored through the Wilkes County Health Department.
"This change in the testing criteria reflects an understanding that transmission of the novel H1N1 flu is occurring in our state, so extensive testing is no longer necessary. At this point, we are asking people to follow a practical approach," said Mrs. Lovette. "Continue to follow basic personal hygiene guidelines. If you feel sick, stay at home. Let your doctor know about your illness and follow his guidance. It appears that this is evolving similarly to the seasonal flu when not every case is an emergency.
"We want more people to think about prevention," she continued.
Thus far, there has been one confirmed death in the United States as a result of the novel H1N1 virus.