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This emphasizes the importance of everyone following all the recommended precautions for protecting themselves and their family members and in the process will lessen the spread of this new virus. These precautions are to always: cover coughs and sneezes, clean hands frequently, especially after coughing and sneezing, and contain the spread by staying home when ill. People who are sick with flu-like symptoms should stay home, except to seek medical care. In such cases, it is advised to call your health care provider for guidance prior to any visit. Staying home means avoiding normal activity including work, travel, shopping, social events and public gatherings. 

Even though influenza illness, including illness associated with the novel H1N1 virus is declining in the United States, Illinois and in Winnebago County are still experiencing a constant report of new cases. The Winnebago County Health Department continues to actively monitor and conduct disease surveillance through the community and expects to report more additional cases of novel H1N1 throughout the summer months. 

As of today, June 11, 2009, there are 35 confirmed cases of H1N1 in Winnebago County. The median age is 11 years and the age range is 2 months to 61 years.  In the U.S. there are over 13,000 cases, with over 1,000 of those cases requiring hospitalizations. There have been 27 deaths associated with the H1N1 virus in the United States. 

Those at greatest risk of complications from influenza, including novel H1N1 flu, are people age 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and people who are immunosuppressed. The symptoms of the novel H1N1
flu virus are fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. It is strongly recommended that individuals with underlying chronic health conditions seek medical care as soon as influenza symptoms arise. 

“To help control the spread of novel H1N1 flu, people who are sick with flu-like symptoms should closely monitor their illness and should stay at home, except to seek medical care. It is advised to call your health care provider before visiting their office. Staying home means that you should not leave your home unless you need to go to the doctor. This means avoiding normal activities including work, travel, shopping, social events, and public gathering,” said Winnebago County Health Department, public health administrator, Mike Bacon.

Anyone seeking information can call the Department’s main number of 815-720-4000, Monday through Friday
from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., to be directed to a health professional who can answer any further questions on the topic of novel H1N1 influenza. The Illinois Department of Public Health continues to operate a Hotline from 6 am –
10 pm daily at 1-866-848-2094 (English) and 1-866-241-2138 (Spanish). The CDC is operating a 24/7 Information Hotline at: 1-800-232-4636. For further information, visit CDC at: 
www.cdc.gov/flu/swine  or Illinois Department of Public Health at: www.idph.state.il.us/. The Department continues to regularly update its web site at www.wchd.org with new information and guidance measures as they are developed from on-going investigations locally, at the State level and from CDC.   

 
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