State steps up effort to battle H1N1 flu threat
The Central District Health Department indicated that Sept. 1 was the official start date of the 2009-2010 influenza season, and announced recently that it has started “fresh in our H1N1 case counting.”
As of Sept. 18, there have been 57 confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza in the district; three of those stricken were hospitalized.
“We anticipate that testing for influenza will decrease as we get further into flu season, so these numbers will only provide a rough estimate of the true number of cases seen in our communities,” CDHD officials said.
Vaccination Clinic Updates
CDHD is continuing to solidify plans for mass vaccination clinics in the four-county region. For the current information about times, dates and locations, contact your county health department in Ada, Boise, Elmore or Valley counties.
In a recent press release, CHD announced its most current information on public flu vaccine point of dispensing (POD) clinic locations. In short, clinics will be held at:
Ada County – details are still being worked out but the goal is:
• One location in East Boise
• One location in West Ada County
• Idaho City Library
• Crouch Community Center
• Mountain Home Junior High School
Valley County (locations tentative):
• Donnelly Elementary School
• Barbara R. Morgan Elementary School
Clinic dates and times will be announced closer to the arrival of vaccine.
In addition to the public points of dispensing, the CDHD office is coordinating and supporting the following activities to ensure vaccine coverage to all target groups:
Joint efforts between CDHD and school nurses to vaccinate K–12 public school students in Ada County, McCall, and Glenns Ferry.
Distribute vaccine to some obstetrician clinics for pregnant females (call your provider to get more info).
Distribute vaccine to homebound individuals through their home health agencies (call your agency for more information).
Administer vaccine at homeless shelters.
Distribute vaccine to BSU students and staff on campus through the BSU Health & Wellness Center.
Administer vaccine to first responders and healthcare workers.
Distribute vaccine to jails, prisons or other detention centers for vaccination of high priority groups.
FDA approves H1N1 vaccine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has formally approved four companies’ formulations of H1N1 vaccine. In a press release posted Sept. 15, the agency stated that data from clinical trials indicate a robust immune response is seen in adults after just one dose of vaccine. Clinical trials are continuing to determine the number of doses needed for children.
Home care for influenza
Many people who have influenza-like illness can be safely cared for in the home. The CDC has issued guidance on caring for ill persons at home as well as information on when to seek medical attention. In order to prevent the spread of illness to others, it is important for those who have symptoms of the flu to stay home (i.e., stay home from school, work, or other social activities) at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100° F [37.8°C]), or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
CDHD does not recommend that schools or workplaces require a doctor’s note indicating that the person is no longer infectious. Requests of this type will quickly overburden the healthcare community.
Who is included in the “25-64 with chronic medical condition” vaccine target group?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that five target groups be first in line to receive H1N1 vaccine. Among those are individuals aged 25-64 who are at higher risk for complications from H1N1 infection due to certain chronic medical conditions. In general, people in this group include those who have:
Chronic respiratory diseases (e.g., asthma, COPD)
Chronic heart and cardiovascular diseases ( e.g., heart failure, coronary artery disease)
Chronic liver disease
Chronic kidney disease
Immuno-suppressed conditions (e.g., HIV/AIDS) or on medications that suppress the immune system (e.g., chemotherapy, prednisone)
If people have other medical conditions and are not sure if they should be vaccinated when vaccine first becomes available, they should talk with their healthcare provider.
The CDHD’s H1N1 vaccination campaign will require a large amount of personnel support, both medical and non-medical. CDHD is stepping up its efforts to recruit volunteers into the CDHD Medical Reserve Corps. Anyone interested in volunteering to help not only with the vaccination campaign but with an array of public health responses can sign up to be a Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer at http://www.VolunteerIdaho.org .
CDHD H1N1 flu hotline and Web page
For general H1N1 questions, the public is encouraged to call the CDHD H1N1 Flu Hotline at 321-2222. At this time, listeners will receive answers to frequently asked questions about H1N1 flu. CDHD may expand to a staffed call bank in the coming weeks, depending on the call volume and demand. Information also can be found on our H1N1 flu website.