Swine Flu In Eastern Carolina

Sunday Update:
First patient thought to have swine flu in Onslow County tested positive for swine flu. Tests on his spouse are still pending. See related story for more information.

Onslow County Health Director George O'Daniel said he received information early Saturday morning that there may be another possible swine flu or H1N1 patient in Onslow County.

O'Daniel says the second person who may be infected is the spouse of the first individual suspected to be carrying H1N1.

O'Daniel says specimens from both people have been sent to the CDC for testing and neither case has been confirmed.

Both people have been very cooperative, according to the health director, and are being isolated in their home. O'Daniel says public health nurses are monitoring both cases.

O'Daniel says a vaccine is not available but Tamiflu "has proven successfully in treating confirmed cases."

Previous story below:

Two people remain in isolation, one in Onslow County and one in Craven County, as tests for swine flu or H1N1 are run at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, the CDC listed no confirmed cases of swine flu in North Carolina. The website listed 160 confirmed cases in the United States, with one death.

We will continue to keep you updated on the developing swine flu situation and the test results from Eastern Carolina.

The Craven County health department says they now have a suspected case of swine flu.

Health Director Scott Harrelson says the person has been issued an isolation order for seven days.

He says the patients family has been given instructions in ways to avoid spreading the illness to others. Harrelson says further information cannot be released because of privacy concerns.

State Health Director Dr. Jeff Engel says the Craven County case is one of more than 300 suspected cases undergoing tests right now.

There is also new information about the probable case of swine flu in Onslow County.

Onslow County health officials say they are still awaiting confirmation from the CDC lab that the person does in fact have swine flu.

Health Director George O'Daniel says the person flew home from Texas on Saturday and reported to his physician their illness on Tuesday.

O'Daniel says the patient was treated in the parking lot of the doctor's office and remains on home isolation.

O'Daniel would not say whether the patient was a Marine or civilian, but did say Camp Lejeune has been working with them on a daily basis.

The health director says there are no other pending swine flu cases in Onslow County.

In a briefing Friday afternoon, state health director Dr. Jeff Engel says for North Carolina it is when and not if we'll have our first swine flu case.

Engel says there are still two probable case in the state, one in Onslow County and the other in Wake.

So far there have been 334 tests taken so far. Of those, 202 are negative, and 130 are still pending.

Nationally, there have been 141 swine flu cases confirmed, and 30% of those report travel to Mexico.

Previous Story

The State Health Department says there are two probable cases in North Carolina, including one in Onslow County.

The Onslow County victim recently traveled to Texas, but there is no other information about that patient.

The other probable victim is in Wake County.

Onslow County Health Director George O'Daniel tells WITN News that the patient is under doctor's care and is under an isolation order at home.

O'Daniel says the patient's illness was identified quickly and their condition is improving.

He says the patient called ahead with the symptoms to a doctor's office. O'Daniel says at no point was anyone within six feet of the patient, expect for the doctor and nurse. Part of the treatment was even conducted outside.

The state says the Onslow County family has been given instructions in ways to avoid spreading the illness to others, including proper hand washing techniques and medical care, and family members will be monitored for signs of illness.

Onslow Memorial spokesman Tim Strickland told WITN News that this is something they have been practicing and preparing for years.

"Disaster planning is what we do, we drill it, we are well stocked with Tamiflu and similar drugs as a proactive measure, and in terms of protocol with swine flu, we are asking local physicians if they have suspected cases to call the health department," say Strickland.

Late Thursday afternoon Governor Beverly Perdue said she's in close contact with state public health leaders. "I want to assure the public that North Carolina is fully prepared to respond to any cases of the H1N1 flu virus - public safety is North Carolina's top priority," said the governor.

Dr. Jeffrey Engel, the state health director, said specimens from those cases have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which could confirm the cases in the coming days.

Engel said the state labs have received 235 samples to date, with 108 coming in on Thursday to be tested. He said 100 cases have tested negative for swine flu.

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