For Immediate Release
May 22, 2009

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

Friday update of 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus cases identified in Kansas

Seven new cases of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus have been confirmed in Kansas since the last update on Thursday, May 21.  Two new cases were identified in Geary County, one involving an adult and one involving a child.  Five new cases were identified in Riley County adults.  Today’s announcement brings the Kansas total to 69 confirmed cases.

As of Wednesday, May 20, KDHE has informed Irwin Army Community Hospital at Fort Riley that it is only necessary for specimens to be collected and sent to KDHE’s laboratories for analysis if the patient is hospitalized with influenza-like illness.  Based on the number of cases identified on post, it is clear that the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus is circulating there, so additional laboratory testing is not required under most circumstances.  Similar guidance was provided to healthcare providers in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties earlier this month.  Health care providers in the rest of the state should continue to report suspect cases and test them for evidence of infection with the virus.

Starting next week, KDHE will transition to weekly news releases that will be distributed on Thursday mornings.  In addition, KDHE will issue a news release whenever cases are confirmed in new counties.  Information on confirmed case counts will be updated once each week day on the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus section of KDHE’s web site (www.kdheks.gov). 

As of today, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has identified the following cases of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus in Kansas.  In all cases, the local health departments are following the guidance provided by KDHE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Confirmed Cases – 69 total

KDHE is continuing to work with local health departments and other healthcare providers to identify cases in Kansas and interrupt the chain of virus transmission wherever it is found.

The symptoms of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include:

Individuals who experience the above symptoms should contact their health care provider, who will determine whether testing or treatment is needed. There is no vaccine available right now to protect against the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus, but there are effective treatments available once the infection is diagnosed.

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

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

KDHE has established a phone number for concerned Kansans to call with questions about the 2009 H1N1 influenza A 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 virus can email H1N1fluinfo@kdheks.gov.  Information is also available from KDHE at www.kdheks.gov.