Four H1N1 flu cases confirmed in Alabama

Four Alabama cases of H1N1 flu — also known as swine flu — have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said officials at the Alabama Department of Public Health in a press release issued this morning.

Nine other cases are probable.

Eight of the probable or confirmed cases are from those in Madison City Schools, one in Madison County School, one in the University of Alabama at Hunstville Pre-School Learning Center and one in St. John the Baptist Catholic School, which serves children kindergarten through eighth grade.

Two additional probable cases are from adults residing in Montgomery and Jefferson counties, the ADPH press release reported.

The city of Madison elementary schools have closed until May 14. The Harvest Elementary School in Madison County, St. John’s School in Madison and the University of Alabama Pre-School Learning Center will be closed through May 8.

The health department clinical laboratories have received more than 300 specimens from health care providers in Alabama. Tests on those specimens are being prioritized based on symptoms of the patients, the press release reported.

All persons are reminded to follow these precautions:

-Cover your cough or sneeze with a sleeve or tissues.

-Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.

-Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose with your hands.

-Try to avoid contact with sick people.

-If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them. Patients experiencing sever symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek health care and treatment.

The Alabama Department of Public Health does not recommend canceling large group events based on concerns of swine flu. Individuals should try to curtail the spread of influenza by realizing the virus is circulating in the population. Individuals who are ill should not attend group events to avoid spreading the virus to others. Persons with underlying medical conditions which would put them at greater potential risk are also advised to avoid group events.

For information about swine flu, please visit www.adph.org.