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No H1N1 flu in county yet

BY JENNIFER DELGADO | MAY 11, 2009 7:30 AM

With 43 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus in Iowa, state health officials said they aren’t telling individuals to change their daily routines.

As of Sunday, no reports of the illness have shown up in Johnson County, said Doug Beardsley, the director of the Johnson County Public Health Department.

“It’s likely we’ll get one, but it doesn’t change anything,” Beardsley said. People should continue to handle the H1N1 virus similar to the seasonal flu and stay home if they feel sick, he said.

Marshall County has the bulk of those infected, with 38 confirmed cases of the virus. People in Des Moines, Polk, Hardin, and Story Counties also carry the virus. Last week, these areas all received anti-viral medicine from the national stockpile.

Beardsley said even if someone does become infected in Johnson County, he doesn’t think public-health officials will use the extra anti-viral stock. The local supply is adequate for any confirmed cases that may arise, he said.

“At this stage, even if we received some additional supply, I doubt we’d get to the point we’d need to use those,” Beardsley said.

Nationally, there are more than 2,500 confirmed cases of the sickness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three people have died from the virus in the United States.

It’s too soon to say whether things are getting better in some communities, national health officials said.

“The virus is continuing to spread,” said Anne Schuchat, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a press conference on May 9. “Fortunately, the severity of the illness we’re seeing at this point doesn’t look as terrible as a Category 5 kind of pandemic or the really devastating impacts that some had feared.”

Local health officials agreed.

“It looks like it’s going to be a mild virus,” Beardsley said. “There’s no reason to shut things down.”
On May 7, Gov. Chet Culver asked Chinese officials to reverse their ban on the Iowa pork industry.

Chinese officials backed out of their pork agreement with Iowa because they said they were worried about the spread of the influenza virus from the meat.

“Scientists and agricultural experts have agreed on one fact,” Culver wrote in a letter to the Chinese government. “There has been no connection between this strain of the flu and our food supply, and that Iowa pork is safe.”


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