500 Iowa samples tested for H1N1 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

500 Iowa samples tested for H1N1

DES MOINES (IDPH NEWS RELEASE) - The Iowa Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) continues to work closely with local, state and national officials as the number of novel influenza A (H1N1) cases rises in the United States. As of May 4, 2009, the University Hygienic Laboratories (UHL) has performed more than 500 tests, with seven probable cases and one confirmed case identified in Iowa. Over the weekend, after consultation with the Marshall County health department, IDPH, and the Iowa Department of Education, the voluntary decision was made by the Marshalltown School District to cancel classes until at least May 10 because of illness in the community.

"As IDPH responds to this outbreak, we continue to urge Iowans to remember the importance of hand-washing and covering your mouth when coughing in the prevention of the spread of illness," said IDPH Director Tom Newton. "Stay home from work or school if you are ill, and contact your health care provider if you have influenza-like symptoms. These include a fever higher than 100 F, sore throat, coughing, stuffy or runny nose, and extreme tiredness."

The current outbreak of novel influenza A (H1N1) is not the first time a new flu virus has spread around the world and made headlines. Past pandemic influenza viruses have caused illness ranging from mild to very severe. Early indications are that the current unique influenza strain is causing mild to moderate illness in Iowa. Because the severity of any novel virus cannot be gauged in the early stages, IDPH is responding aggressively to this outbreak.

A state hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about swine flu at 1-800-447-1985. Since the line was opened Tuesday, April 28, nearly 900 calls have been received. More information about swine influenza can be found at www.idph.state.ia.us/adper/swine_flu.asp.

Iowans may also sign up for IDPH Twitter updates at http://twitter.com/IAPublicHealth.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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