Editor's note: The cases reported in Chatham County were mild, according to the Coastal Health District. It is still a good idea to take basic steps to prevent the spread of germs.CHATHAM COUNTY, GA – Novel H1N1 influenza A, formerly known as swine flu, has been confirmed in local youth that recently attended a summer camp in South Carolina the week of July 19-24. Attendees from the camp included a group of middle and high school students, adult counselors, and volunteers from Chatham, Effingham, and Bryan counties. The Chatham County Health Department received reports that several attendees showed signs of influenza-like illness (ILI) during camp and after returning home. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for laboratory testing of possible outbreaks of ILI at camps, nasopharyngeal specimens (sample of secretions from the uppermost part of the throat, behind the nose) were then taken from only a few of the campers. The specimens confirmed that those campers had contracted novel H1N1 flu. “Testing for novel H1N1 influenza is done for surveillance purposes only and does not impact the course of treatment provided by physicians,” said Dr. Diane Weems, Chief Medical Officer for the Chatham County Health Department and Coastal Health District. “Because we know that some of the campers were exposed to novel H1N1 flu, it can be concluded that others were also exposed and contracted the virus. Novel H1N1 flu is circulating in our community, around the country, and throughout the world, and we can better protect ourselves by taking a few, simple measures.” Basic precautions to prevent the spread of germs include:
· Sneezing into your elbow or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the tissue after you use it.
· Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
· Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
· Staying home if you get sick and limiting contact with others to keep from spreading the infection.Symptoms of novel H1N1 flu are similar to that of seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with novel H1N1 flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of infected people; however, sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.