Pa. Department of Health, CDC Advise Public of Novel Influenza Case
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is advising the public of an investigation into a human case of novel influenza A virus in Pennsylvania and is urging the public to take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
The case involves a child who has fully recovered from the illness. No additional human infections with this virus have been identified to date.
Influenza viruses are commonly found in humans, swine, birds and other animals. The case in Pennsylvania is similar to previous, rare human infections with swine-origin H3N2 viruses, but is unique in that it contains a genetic component of the H1N1 virus.
“At this time, with only one case of this kind identified in Pennsylvania, we cannot yet say there is a significant risk to public health,” said Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Eli Avila. “However, it is something that we are taking very seriously and actively investigating.”
The virus was identified quickly through collaboration between a local hospital, Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureaus of Laboratories and Epidemiology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is genetically similar to a case identified in Indiana earlier this year, although no link has been identified between the two cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included the two cases in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, issued online today.
Symptoms experienced in the patient in Pennsylvania were similar to that of seasonal influenza, and included fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Other influenza symptoms may also include a runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
As the investigation into the case continues, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reminds residents to take everyday preventative actions, including:
- Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or sneezing into your sleeve or elbow if you do not have a tissue;
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you cough or sneeze, or using an alcohol-based hand cleaner; and
- Staying home from work, school, and social gatherings if you have flu-like and feverish symptoms to help prevent others from catching your illness.
If you or your children become ill with symptoms of influenza, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends you contact your health care provider.
Christine Cronkright or Brandi Hunter-Davenport, Pa. Department of Health; 717-787-1783
Tom Skinner, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 404-639-3286
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health