The Louisiana Department of Health today confirmed three deaths in the state from H1N1 in the past week: a female child and an adult male from LDH Region I, the Greater New Orleans area, and an adult male from LDH Region IV, consisting of the seven-parish Lafayette area. There have been a total of 11 H1N1-related deaths statewide.
The department will not release other personal details about the individuals to protect the privacy of the residents and their families.
"These losses are tragic for the families involved, and certainly our hearts go out to them," said LDH Secretary Alan Levine. "The losses we have seen in our state seem to be consistent with national trends. As individuals with pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to develop severe complications from H1N1, we strongly encourage those with pre-existing conditions to contact their medical provider for advice immediately."
Levine added, "The loss of a child is especially hard for all those involved. If you have a child with a pre-existing medical condition, such as a respiratory or cardiac condition, diabetes, or any other pre-existing condition, please make sure your child knows to report any illness or symptoms immediately, and make sure they see a physician. Also, if you are pregnant and experience flu-like symptoms, please see your physician as soon as you can. Our state’s health care professionals are responding and are aware of the CDC guidelines for treatment for people who are at risk. In most cases, treatment for high risk populations involves the use of antivirals, which are readily available."
Because the H1N1 virus spreads easily from person to person through droplets transmitted in coughs and sneezes, the department continues to advise residents to practice good hygiene habits and follow official public health advice to avoid spreading germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with influenza, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- The CDC does NOT recommend the use of antivirals as a precautionary measure to prevent infection of any influenza virus. Antiviral treatment is recommended for all hospitalized patients with confirmed, probable or suspected 2009 H1N1 or seasonal influenza, and is generally recommended for patients who are at higher risk for influenza-related complications.
If you become ill with influenza-like symptoms and have other high-risk medical conditions like pregnancy, diabetes, or heart/lung conditions, you should contact your physician immediately. Your doctor will determine whether treatment is needed.
LDH is continuing to monitor the progress of the H1N1 flu to alert the public to any significant changes that would impact the public's health. For more information on flu activity in Louisiana, including guidance for families and medical professionals, visit www.flula.com.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.