BATON ROUGE, La. (May 2, 2009) - Today, state officials announced that the Department of Health is investigating ten new suspected cases of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus in Beauregard, Lafayette and Orleans parishes, bringing the total number of suspected cases currently under investigation to 19.
These are only possible cases, meaning they could not be identified by the Office of Public Health laboratory in New Orleans and have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab in Atlanta for confirmation. There are still no confirmed cases of the virus in Louisiana, at this time. CDC reports that it will take them two to four days to have results on each sample sent to them for testing.
Samples of all 10 new suspected cases tested positive for type A Influenza, which indicates either seasonal or swine flu. The swine flu (H1N1) virus subtype is confirmed by CDC lab tests. Eight of the new suspected cases are from Lafayette Parish and one each from Beauregard and Orleans parishes.
Of all 19 suspected cases under investigation to date, 13 are from Lafayette Parish, two are from Orleans and one each from Ascension, Beauregard, St. Martin and St. Tammany parishes.
There are still no confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus in Louisiana, although there are now nearly 550 sample cases being tested by DHH. Additionally, state officials continue to monitor the situation regarding possible H1N1 cases in Louisiana and are taking important precautions in order to prevent the further spread of illness.
Below is an update on actions being taken by various state agencies.
The Office of Public Health lab is exploring options so that the state can perform H1N1 confirmation testing. The Governor has also appointed a task force to prepare to respond to the possibility of pandemic flu during hurricane season.
DSS is using Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of schools and child care centers to help identify child care centers that might be affected by schools that close because of a confirmed case of the H1N1 flu virus.
DSS is identifying an emergency facility that would be able to house and isolate 10-20 children who come into the state's foster care system showing flu-like symptoms in the event that the need for such a facility arises. The agency is also identifying an emergency medical foster home in each of the nine regions of the state that could house and isolate 1 to 4 children who come into the state's foster care system showing flu-like symptoms.
NATIONAL GUARD ACTION
The Louisiana National Guard is assisting with prepositioning antivirals in the state at the direction of the Department of Health throughout Louisiana.
HIGHER EDUCATION ACTION
Grambling State University - GSU is sending emails to students, staff and faculty to remind them about the standard hygiene protocols for this medical emergency. They are also cancelling the study abroad program to Costa Rica this summer.
Southern University System - The Southern System is sending out daily email updates to students.
Nicholls State University - In an effort to educate students, the Individual and Family Handbook (How You Can Be Prepared for a Flu Pandemic) is being distributed, and University Health Services has enacted plans for the detection and treatment of the H1N1 virus. E-mail correspondence has been sent to all students, faculty and staff informing them of the situation and precautionary measures to be taken.
Southeastern Louisiana University - The Southeastern Emergency Response Team and Emergency Response Steering Committee has met to monitor the situation and begin initial implementation of the Pandemic Plan, which is an appendix to SELU's comprehensive Emergency Response Plan. SELU has also postponed the Hispanic Community Service Day originally scheduled for today on campus.
Visit www.FluLa.com for the latest information on the H1N1 virus.