The Kentucky Department for Public Health reported Kentucky's fifth probable case of H1N1 (swine flu) on Monday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It involves a 4-year-old Hardin County boy.
"We continue to investigate and identify possible cases of H1N1 swine flu in Kentucky," said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of DPH. "There are no special recommendations to individuals other than to stay informed and focus on practicing good health habits. In partnership with local health officials, we evaluate the circumstances surrounding all cases we detect to ensure the appropriate precautions are taken to help prevent the further spread of the illness."
The new probable case in Hardin County involves a Vine Grove toddler with a history of recent travel to an affected area in the U.S.
The boy, who has not required hospitalization, was “improving and doing well,” Lt. Col. Lance Raney, medical chief of staff for Ireland Army Community Hospital, said Monday..
The boy was first seen early last week at Ireland. He neither had a fever nor met the criteria for having the flu and was diagnosed with an upper respiratory tract infection.But over the next few days the child, who had traveled to the Texas area, developed progressive symptoms — including a fever.
He was deferred to an acute care clinic in Hardin County and a specimen was sent to a state lab. While influenza was confirmed, a test did not show it was one of the area’s two common strains, so the sample was forwarded to the CDC. Of the strains uncommon to a particular area, 98 percent of specimens now tested are the H1N1 virus, Raney said.
The virulence of this strain isn’t any more severe than that of the regular flu, Raney said.
“I think the key thing is downplaying any hysteria. In time like this, we can over-treat,” he said.
Health officials from the Lincoln Trail District Health Department are investigating and will evaluate close contacts for illness and possible preventive treatment. The boy attends the Child Development Center at Fort Knox and local health officials have been working closely with Fort Knox health officials. Fort Knox officials voluntarily closed the child care center through at least Wednesday of this week in order to clean it to hospital standards. Parents of children who attend the Fort Knox child care center are encouraged to keep their children at home and to notify their physician if their child develops any flu-like symptoms.
Last week, DPH reported Kentucky's first cases of swine flu, a confirmed case involving a Warren County woman who is hospitalized in Georgia and probable cases in the Barren River Health District, Fayette County, Montgomery County and Daviess County. Another probable case in Daviess County was reported Tuesday.
Kentucky health officials continue to ask that Kentuckians who have traveled recently to Mexico or other countries or communities within the U.S. where the new H1N1 influenza strain known as swine flu has been reported, or who are planning such travel, be alert for the symptoms of swine flu in the following ways:
People who have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with swine flu or who reside in communities where there are one or more confirmed swine flu cases should also be alert for these symptoms.
Currently, there are more than 141 confirmed cases of swine flu reported in the U.S., a number that is expected to continue to grow. The World Health Organization and CDC have reported numerous human cases of a severe respiratory illness in at least three different regions of Mexico.
Laboratory testing of patient specimens has confirmed infections with swine influenza ("swine flu") A/H1N1 virus. This is a newly emerging, animal-origin virus that is being spread from an infected person to another person.
For information on swine flu, visit www.cdc.gov/swineflu. Individuals also can visit www.healthalerts.ky.gov for information on swine flu and Kentucky or follow KYHealthAlerts on Twitter to be notified when new information is posted at the Web site. The Lincoln Trail District Health Department's Web site is www.ltdhd.ky.gov.
John Friedlein of Landmark News Service contributed to this report.