(The following information is from the NC Department of Health and Human Services.)
RALEIGH, NC - State Health Director Jeffrey Engel today reported that two probable cases of the H1N1 flu have been identified in North Carolina. Gov. Bev Perdue was notified this morning and joined Dr. Engel in assuring that the state is working with the county health officials where the patients are located to provide any assistance they need in responding.
"I am in close contact with our state public health leaders," said Gov. Perdue. "I want to assure the public that North Carolina is fully prepared to respond to any cases of the H1N1 flu virus. Public safety is North Carolina's top priority."
"I am very proud of the way North Carolinians have been responding to this outbreak," Dr. Engel said. "It is natural that people are concerned, and everyone is keeping things in perspective and doing all the things they should to protect themselves. The best thing to do now is to continue the proper prevention practices - cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often, avoid close contact with those who are sick and stay home if you are sick."
The probable cases were detected Thursday during lab tests on specimens sent to the State Laboratory of Public Health as part of the state's efforts to defend against the new strain of flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will test the samples in Atlanta, Ga., to make a final confirmation that the cases are the H1N1 flu. The time for the CDC to complete these tests is averaging about two days.
The two cases are located in Onslow and Wake counties. The Wake County case was a visitor to North Carolina. Further information about the patients cannot be released at this time for privacy purposes.
The Onslow County patient has been issued an isolation order for seven days after symptoms first appeared, or until the lab has ruled the patient negative for H1N1 flu. The family has been given instructions in ways to avoid spreading the illness to others, including proper hand washing techniques and medical care, and family members will be monitored for signs of illness.
Local health officials are working to determine who might have been exposed before the patients showed symptoms. Officials will be notifying anyone with whom there was close contact.
People who have been in close contact with the patients will be advised to go home at the earliest sign of illness and to minimize contact in the community to the extent possible.