By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MDH) is reporting the first suspected case of H1N1 swine influenza in Yalobusha County after a 15 year-old patient was admitted to Yalobusha General Hospital on Monday with flu-like symptoms. While this is the first reported case in the county, the MDH is reporting 413 Mississippi cases identified since May 15.
Hospital Administrator Terry Varner confirmed his facility was treating the patient, but added that an official confirmation that flu strain was H1N1 Swine Flu is still pending.
“From our end, I would say it was suspected, either way it will be treated just like the seasonal flu” Varner explained. “The health department is advising us to treat any unseasonable flu as swine flu,” the hospital administrator continued, stressing there is no need for alarm.
“It’s still the flu, just with more severe symptoms,” Varner said.
Varner also reported that his staff has treated two additional suspected cases, one involving a nine year-old and the second was a seven year-old. Varner also said that both of these patients were treated and sent home.
“We are treating this the same way we treat the seasonal flu,” Varner said, prescribing Tamiflu and Relenza. The health department is only testing in-patient cases,” Varner continued, which means these two cases are also suspected, but not confirmed.
Swine Flu has also been reported in neighboring counties including seven cases in Calhoun County, 13 cases in Panola County and four cases in Lafayette County.
Prevention is the best method of protection, according to Varner, who advised following normal precautions to reduce the risk of contracting the virus: wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, or cough into a tissue followed by hand-washing, and avoid close contact with those who are sick.
“If you have fever, you need to stay home, don’t return to school or work for at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided,” Varner cautioned.