Health Officials Continue to Urge Vermonters to Take Preventative Measures as Massachusetts reports first two confirmed cases
For Immediate Release: April 29, 2009 (1 p.m.)
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health laboratory continues to test samples from patients who have fever and respiratory illness and meet the criteria for influenza A (H1N1), as part of the enhanced surveillance effort to detect swine flu in Vermont. The first two confirmed cases in New England (Massachusetts) were reported this morning.
There have been no probable or confirmed cases in Vermont from the influenza virus that is responsible for an international outbreak, including 91 confirmed human cases and one death so far in the United States.
“Identifying a case in Vermont is only a matter of time, and the first reports of confirmed cases in New England should strengthen our resolve to remind people of health habits that reduce the risk of illness,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD. “We have had a few people who have met the criteria for testing, which is ongoing. All samples tested as of the end of the day yesterday were negative.”
At this time, any probable case that is identified would be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Testing people with a recent onset of illness who present with influenza-like illness, and who have returned from an affected area or may have had contact with a suspected case, is a priority. A sample is taken from the nose and throat.
The best defense against exposure to influenza is to:
- Wash your hands often and well.
- Use alcohol-based hand wipes and gel sanitizers if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away.
- Stay home from work or school and away from others if you are sick.
- If you need medical attention, call your health care provider first.
“If you have mild illness stay home, but if you are sick and concerned about your health, please call your health care provider,” Dr. Davis said. “This is a time for all of us to take common-sense precautions to protect ourselves and each other to slow the spread of illness.”
General questions about swine flu or other health concerns related to the outbreak can be answered by Vermont 211 (dial 2-1-1, or online www.vermont211.org). For updated information on swine flu visit www.healthvermont.gov or www.cdc.gov/swineflu.
For a copy of the Vermont Emergency Management Family Preparedness Workbook, which provides commonsense advice on preparing your family for a more widespread outbreak of flu, call 800-347-0488 or visit: www.vemvt.com.