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H1N1 on the rise

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By Kate Darnell

Flu season usually begins in November.

This year, with the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, flu season has come months earlier.

“We have 15 people a day coming through the emergency room with flu-like symptoms...” said Harrison Memorial Hospital director Sheila Currans.

Currans said 25 individuals have tested positive for H1N1 this month.

While flu screenings are being used to detect Type A flu (the basis of H1N1) in the emergency room and doctors’ offices, Currans said the additional test to confirm H1N1 was an added expense that some patients were avoiding.

Just this week, Currans said over 12 HMH patients had tested positive for Type A influenza, which is being treated as H1N1.

“Once you know they have Type A, you send them home,” Currans said.

Currans said those with flu-like symptoms weren’t suffering from the seasonal flu, since none of the HMH patients have tested positive for seasonal flu and the flu season doesn’t begin for several months.

The flu in Harrison County, along with the rest of the country, Currans said, is the H1N1 influenza.

According to a press release received last week from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in Frankfort, the flu level in Kentucky has been raised from ‘regional’ to ‘widespread.’

“Having widespread flu activity being reported in Kentucky is very unusual in mid-September,” said William D. Hacker, M.D., commissioner of Department for Public Health. “This high level of activity so early in the flu season is mainly due to the H1N1 virus circulating, not the seasonal flu.”

 

For the complete story, see this week's edition of The Cynthiana Democrat.