H1N1 flu update - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

H1N1 flu update

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The H1N1 virus has been around since April, and several half-truths have been spread about the flu. Thursday the Health Department held a press conference to put an end to some of those misconceptions, and give a swine flu update. It was the first of its kind in the area.

The press conference was put on by officials from the Health Department who specialize in several areas regarding H1N1. They also took the time to give an all around update on how the flu is affecting our area.

The Health District Director, Dr. Zsolt Koppanyi told News Leader Nine, "These are threatening times as a new virus is spreading across the globe and scientists are working at the utmost speed to identify it and to develop a vaccine to combat it. There is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding the strength and the damage it can cause."

The West Central Health District is planning for shipments of the H1N1 vaccine while also trying to provide seasonal flu shots.

Director of Nursing, Shelia Mayfield said, "16 counties in our district are expecting to receive the vaccine for the H1N1 flu around the middle of October and will announce when it will be available to those at high risk."

"To date we have 160 total providers registered through 16 counties. 130 of those will be receiving more than 100 doses of the vaccine each directly shipped from the Center for Disease Control," added Program Director Ed Saidla.

Recent reports show 56 specimens in the West Central Health District have tested positive for H1N1, but you have to take into account not every person with flu-like symptoms was tested.

Eileen Usman is the Health District's Epidemiologist. She said, "When they test those specimens, 99 percent of the thousands tested have been the novel 2009 H1N1."  

Officials say that if someone in your family or workplace has come down with flu-like symptoms, it's important to clean areas that person has touched. They say soap and warm water or household disinfectants will work just fine. This should help prevent further spreading of the virus.
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