State News

State still awaiting flu confirmations

Posted May 4, 2009

— North Carolina's public health director said Monday afternoon there have been no new confirmed reports of cases of the deadly flu virus sweeping the globe.

Dr. Jeff Engel said the state was still awaiting test results of seven probable cases of the H1N1 Influenza virus, which has infected more than 900 people worldwide.

N.C. still awaiting swine flu confirmation N.C. still awaiting swine flu confirmation

Nationally, there were 286 confirmed cases in 36 states as of 11 a.m., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 433 suspected cases North Carolina, 382 tested negative for the virus, 40 specimens are pending and three cases are unclear.

One case has been reported in Onslow County, and another case there would likely be confirmed later Monday.

Test results from six other probably cases, including one in Wake County and five in Craven County are also pending, Engel said.

A suspected case in Craven County involving a child prompted the state to shut down Arthur Edwards Elementary School in Havelock after a child presented flu systems Friday.

Engel said it was a precaution to allow local officials to put control measures in place.

"It's important to do some simple arithmetic," he said. "Realize that of the 382, only one has been a confirmed case. That information tells you our providers are being very sensitive (in its case definition.)"

The state is now asking health care providers to submit only samples of patients presenting with severe flu symptoms or those from patients in situations where exposure to clusters of people is a concern.

"We're not abandoning surveillance. We're going to continue to keep very active surveillance," Engel said, calling the new community measures "incremental and scalable."


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  • burnhace May 5, 2009

    brassy: It is not standard medical practice in the USA to test for specific infectious diseases. We diagnose based on symptoms alone. If we suspect a treatable infectious agent, we then prescribe antibiotics or antivirals based on our best guess. It is thought that this is more efficient because testing is time-consuming and expensive. This usually works well for the individual patient, though antibiotic treatment usually masks the ID of the infectious agent and makes later identification impossible. From a public health perspective though, it stinks. A better standard is in use in most European countries where public health has not been sacrificed in the name of bizarre economic theories. Jack Kemp is dead.

  • DLWilliams May 4, 2009

    I'm lost on the government and media hysteria on this little bug. Somewhere between 350k and ONE HALF MILLION people die worldwide each year due to the common flu and that barely gets mentioned once a week at the height of the flu season. What gives? WHO is now warning of a "second wave".... I'm still waiting on the first ripple.

  • brassy May 4, 2009

    Interesting. My health care provider says no one is testing for the swine flu.

  • james27613 May 4, 2009

    Watched the Dir. of DHSS at the news conference the other day.

    Noticed the container of bottled water on the desk !

    OUTRAGE, spending money on bottled water while our state
    is in financial distress.