No H1N1 here — yet

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Allen County remains one of several Kansas counties where no cases of H1N1 flu have been confirmed. Also, no cases have been reported in Anderson, Coffey and Woodson counties, but have been in Linn, Bourbon and Neosho.
Wendy Froggatte, public health nurse at the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department, said absence of the swine flu here might be because testing of specific cases hadn’t been done, not that the virus had skipped over the county altogether.
She said the H1N1 vaccine was expected to arrive here by mid-October.
When the vaccine, containing live virus, arrives there will be a pecking order for recipients.
The priority:
— Those 6 months up to 19 years of age.
— Pregnant women.
— Household contacts and caregivers of infants younger than six months.
— Health care and emergency medical services personnel.
— Those 25 to 64 with certain high-risk medical conditions, such as diabetes.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the risk of infection among people 65 and older is much less than it is for younger age groups. If vaccine supply proves sufficient, those 65 and older will be offered vaccinations later.
Meanwhile, one of Froggatte’s duties is to monitor absenteeism in Allen County schools. If the number exceeds 5 percent of enrollment, the KDHE, which is tracking the swine flu strain in Kansas, wants to know.
Froggatte mentioned several things that people can do to help avoid swine flu or any other communicable disease.
— Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
— Stay home when an illness occurs to avoid spreading it to co-workers and friends. People should remain at home until they have remained fever-free, without use of fever-reducing medications, for at least 24 hours.
— Cough or sneeze into a tissue and properly dispose of it. In the absence of a tissue, people should cover their face with an elbow.
— Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest and exercise.

FROGGATTE said the health center’s supply of regular flu vaccine had been expended.
“We have a small amount that is committed for clinics, but we have none on hand for walk-ins,” she said. “We don’t anticipate getting any more.”