For Immediate Release
April 30, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE update on the 2009 H1N1 Flu Virus Outbreak*

As of Thursday afternoon, Kansas has not seen any additional confirmed cases of the new 2009 H1N1 flu virus.  There are still two confirmed cases in the state.

The Kansas Department and Health and Environment (KDHE) continues to work with local public health departments, hospitals and other healthcare providers across the state to closely monitor the current situation related to the 2009 H1N1 flu virus outbreak.  KDHE has worked, along with its partners, to prepare for an outbreak like this, and Kansas citizens should know that plans are in place to identify potential cases, treat patients and distribute medication and supplies across the state as needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the availability of a test kit for the 2009 H1N1 flu virus to expand the capabilities of state public health laboratories.  This will allow for the quicker detection of the 2009 H1N1 virus in Kansas citizens.  KDHE anticipates receiving the new test kit for use in its laboratories next week.

It is important to know that the H1N1 flu virus is not transmitted by food.  You cannot get the 2009 H1N1 flu virus from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe.

Earlier this week, the CDC announced that all states would receive a portion of their allocation of antivirals from the federal Strategic National Stockpile.  Kansas has received its portion of its overall federal allocation and communication with health care providers about its distribution is underway.

KDHE has established a phone number for concerned Kansans to call with questions about the H1N1 flu virus.  The toll-free number is 1-877-427-7317.  Operators will be available to answer questions from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Persons calling will be directed to press “1” on their touch-tone phone to be directed to an operator who can answer questions.

Kansans with questions about the H1N1 Influenza Virus can also email H1N1fluinfo@kdheks.gov.  Information about the H1N1 flu virus is available from KDHE at www.kdheks.gov.

As with any influenza virus, individuals are encouraged to take the following steps to reduce the chance of spread:

*Editor’s note: KDHE will now refer to what had been called swine influenza as the 2009 H1N1 flu virus.