State News

State still awaiting flu confirmations

Posted May 4, 2009 4:03 p.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2009 10:53 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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."