H1N1 Influenza Update

We are now over one week into tracking newly emerging H1N1 influenza virus. What have we learned so far?

Infections are spreading around the world but not as quickly as many predicted. We do now have confirmed cases in Oregon and our clinic has seen at least two. The contagiousness seems to be similar to typical respiratory influenza seen in winter months.

Severity of the disease was the big unknown when this was emerging. So far we are fortunate that it does not seem to be more severe than typical respiratory winter flu. Infections reported across the country are for the most part not requiring hospitalization and only one death has been reported from the virus in the United States.

At this time Oregon State Public Health is recommending decreasing the amount of testing since the virus has now been confirmed in many counties in Oregon. Testing will continue for children hospitalized or children at high risk of complications from influenza (very young and children with chronic medical conditions).

Primary prevention is still hand washing and avoiding crowds, especially if sick. Treatment is supportive, with rest, fluids, ibuprofen being the most important.

Our office will continue to monitor this emerging infection closely.