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State confirms first southern Illinois H1N1 flu
Total of 393 casses identified
SPRINGFIELD -Officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are reporting 393 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu (swine flu) in Illinois and one probable case.

A specimen from Franklin County is the first confirmed case in southern Illinois.

Benton is the county seat of Franklin County with West Frankfort being the other most-populated community.

Franklin County is about 90 minutes southwest of Lawrence County.

"We knew we would see cases of H1N1 flu across Illinois, so the case from Franklin County is not a surprise," said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health Director. "And although the number of confirmed cases in Illinois appears high compared to the rest of the country, there is no need to be alarmed.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seeing a backlog of cases from states still submitting samples, but the Department is one of only a few states certified by the CDC to conduct its own confirmatory testing and therefore the Department is able to confirm its cases much more quickly. Local health departments and hospitals are also doing a phenomenal job in identifying suspect cases, which adds to the case count."

According to the CDC, it is likely there will be a point where it will become impossible to count individual cases. At that point, health officials will transition to using reporting systems similar to those used for seasonal flu. Individual cases of seasonal flu are not counted, but activity levels are monitored through a nationwide surveillance system, which will be used to monitor the spread of illness caused by this new virus.

To stay healthy, Illinois Department of Public Healtah officials advise followingthe three C's:

• Clean - properly wash your hands frequently;

• Cover - cover your cough and sneeze;

• Contain - contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will remain vigilant in an effort to reduce the transmission and severity of illness.

People who have questions about H1N1 flu can call the Illinois flu hotline at 866-848-2094 for English and 866-241-2138 for Spanish.

The hotline currently operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but will be closed on Sunday, May 10, and until further notice, will operate from 8:30 am to 5 p.m. daily starting next Monday, May 11.

For more information on H1N1 flu, log onto HYPERLINK "http://www.ready.illinois.gov" www.ready.illinois.gov.



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