Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Monroe in town today

Indiana Health Commissioner, Dr. Judith Monroe held a press conference in Fort Wayne today to talk about the H1N1 or North American Human Influenza A virus.  This was the virus formerly known as the Swine Flu.  The CDC has decided to rename the virus to avoid confusing the public. Apparently, some have come to believe that the consumption of pork produces this particular virus.  In fact, one of the media at today’s press conference asked if the name change was the result of pressure or lobbying by the pork industry – the answer was no.

Here’s a break down of today’s updates and information provided:

  • First positive confirmed case in Indiana was identified Monday night.  The student is isolated and doing well.  The student reported no travel in the last few weeks.
  • Other suspected cases have samples at the CDC undergoing testing.
  • At this point, the virus is sensitive to anti-virals and has been a “mild disease” in most of the US cases.
  • Every citizen needs to do their part in stopping the spread of this disease, by taking it seriously.  You can do this by frequently washing your hands and use alcohol based hand gel sanitizing solutions.
  • Dr. Monroe said she has personally asked Hoosiers to stop shaking hands and suggested that instead bump elbows or other similar greetings.
  • If you have to sneeze or cough, use a tissue.  After you toss the tissue in the garbage, wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Those citizens with Influenza-like illnesses, symptoms include fever of 100 degrees or more, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches or fatigue, should stay home.  
  • If you have symptoms, you should call your physician to report your symptoms and follow his/her directions.
  • If you are 65 or older, or have chronic illnesses, you should receive a vaccination for pneumonia if you haven’t already.  People who get the flu have a higher risk to developing pneumonia.  It’s a once in a life-time vaccination.
  • The way to stop the spread is for everyone to follow the above guidelines and do your part.
  • Small children should not be given aspirin due to potential Reyes Syndrome development.  Check with your physician before giving any medication to children.
  • The latest information they have is that you “incubate” the virus for a day or two before you develop symptoms.  But even during the incubation period, you are contagious.  Dr. Monroe shared the example of someone who is incubating H1N1 coughing on their hand and then shaking your hand.  You rub your eyes, nose, mouth and, “boom, you’ve just caught it.”
  • There currently haven’t been any travel restrictions issued as of this morning.
  • State Hotline for citizens: 1-877-826-0011
  • State Hotline for Doctors and Clinicians: 1-866-233-1237
  • Local Hotline for anyone: 449-7506

At this time, the City/County’s EOC or Emergency Operations Center is on a limited operations status.  The focus locally is on providing and sharing information with the public.  Shortly before the press conference, private and public information providers met to make sure they were on the same page and providing accurate, clear and concise information.

One of the questions asked was whether this was a possible bio-terrorist attack.  Indiana Homeland Security Director, Joe Wainscott, responded that there have been no indications to this point of this being such an event.  In fact, he went on to say they’ve identified ground zero (in homeland security parlance) or patient zero or the index case (in CDC parlance).  He has been in communication with other Homeland Security-related agencies including the Federal Homeland Security Agency and that this has been considered, but no indications have been found for this as an explanation.

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