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H1N1 cases on the rise locally, worldwide
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Flu Season Tips

• Wash hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
• Stay home if you have influenza symptoms. If you have the flu, stay home at least seven days after the symptoms began. Do not go back to work with a fever.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes.
• Seek medical care for severe respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing or for dehydration.
• Keep your distance from people who are coughing.
• Avoid sharing personal items.
• Eat well, be active and don’t smoke.
Information from the California Department of Public Health

Stanislaus County health officials have confirmed that the passing of a 69-year-old man in August was caused by the H1N1 virus, bringing the county total up to six deaths.
The death was confirmed Monday by the Stanislaus County Health and Human Services Agency. The man died from complications of the H1N1 virus on Aug. 23 while undergoing treatment at a local hospital, according to the health agency.
The man’s death made for the county’s fifth H1N1-related death just for the month of August. Three fell within a couple of days of one another.
The county has seen a total of 55 people hospitalized with H1N1, but the virus appears to be highly active in the county, according to the health department. The exact number of people infected by the virus is unknown because hospitals are only required to report hospitalized cases to public health departments and not those of individuals treated as outpatients, said Phoebe Leung, assistant director of the health agency.
The Centers for Disease Control is reporting that 11 states are dealing with “widespread influenza activity,” at a rate much higher than what is normal for August and September. The typical flu season doesn’t start until October.
The CDC also stated that visits to doctors from patients with flu-like symptoms are on the rise nationally.
The World Health Organization reported there have been 277,607 cases of the H1N1 virus worldwide as of Sept. 6 and 3,205 deaths. Within a one week time span the number of cases increased by more than 23,000, according to the World Health Organization data.
“The 2009 H1N1 influenza virus continues to be the dominant influenza virus in circulation in the world,” the World Health Organization wrote in a press statement.
According to the CDC, California is experiencing regional outbreaks of the H1N1 virus. As of Sept. 8, the state public health department had recorded 1,806 H1N1 hospitalizations and 152 deaths. In Merced County, where they recorded their second H1N1-related death last week, there have been 24 hospitalized cases.
The H1N1 virus has been particularly virulent on college campuses across the country. Some campuses have reported outbreaks that have sickened more than 500 students. Nationally, there have been three college students who have died from the virus.
California State University, Stanislaus has been monitoring student activity in regards to the H1N1 virus and has set up guidelines to deal with a possible outbreak, including the formation of a pandemic response team.
In an effort to keep the virus from spreading through the dorms, the university is keeping two empty apartments available in case they need to isolate students who become ill.
The Student Health Center also is recommending each resident prepare a care kit of items to help them if they get the flu and they have made arrangements with Campus Dining to be able to provide food to students who are ill in their rooms to minimize the spread of germs.
University spokesperson Kristin Olsen said the campus has noticed higher than normal numbers reporting flu-like symptoms, but that in most cases the symptoms were mild and that “overall, the campus is doing well.”
On Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration approved four manufacturers to begin production on H1N1 vaccines after their test results came back favorable.
A large-scale vaccination program is slated to start around mid-October. First in line for the vaccine will be pregnant women, children and young adults, health care workers, caretakers of infants under six months of age, and anyone with underlying medical conditions.
The FDA said they expect as many as 90,000 sites will have the vaccine nationally.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.