Sunday, May 17, 2009

Georgia Division of Public Health confirms novel H1N1 cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday awarded validation to the Georgia Public Health Lab (GPHL) to perform novel H1N1 virus confirmatory testing.

This means that the Georgia Public Health Lab has been able to quickly test and confirm all the probable samples in their facility.

"In total Georgia has 25 confirmed cases of novel H1N1 virus. The surge in cases is mainly due to the probables cases now being considered confirmed," said Dr. Sandra Ford, acting director of the Georgia Division of Public Health (GDPH).

Five of the cases were tested out-of-state.

"The Georgia Division of Public Health is actively engaged in the analysis and research on this new virus," said Dr. Ford. "State and federal public health agencies have enough information about this virus to assess its effects on individuals. Now we have started to focus our efforts in testing those who present the most severe cases, such as the hospitalized."

As part of state influenza surveillance system the lab will also test samples submitted by its Influenza Sentinel Providers Surveillance Network, as well as samples sent by private providers to the Public Health Districts.

Respiratory illnesses circulate in Georgia all year round. Current influenza surveillance shows that both seasonal flu virus and the novel H1N1 virus are present in Georgia. Frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when ill are the most effective ways to avoid getting sick.

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