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DHS news release

Oct. 10, 2005

 

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg, (971) 673-1282

Technical contact: Susan Allan, M.D., (971) 673-1300

 

Flu confirmed in Oregon resident

 


 

Oregon's first culture-confirmed influenza case of the season has been reported by the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory, officials in the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) reported today.

 

The case of influenza A occurred in an Oregon woman who acquired it while visiting in California, said Susan Allan, M.D., public health director in DHS.

 

Allan said that influenza is occurring in scattered parts of the country outside Oregon, but that no significant outbreaks have been reported so far.

 

"This is a timely reminder to start making plans for getting a flu vaccination," Allan said. "Although this person became infected while traveling out of state, it's a definite sign that flu season is on its way."

 

Oregon is expected to have adequate supplies of flu vaccine this year, although much of the supply is expected in late October and though November, Allan said.

 

Because health officials weren't sure when all vaccine would arrive due to anticipated shipping delays, in early September DHS announced priority guidelines for who should receive early vaccination.

 

Through Oct. 23, only people in the following high-priority groups are eligible to receive a flu shot:

  • Children ages 6 to 23 months
  • Adults ages 65 and older
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Anyone ages 2 to 64 with underlying medical conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • Health-care personnel who provide direct patient care
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under 6 months.

 

Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV), the nasal spray marketed as FluMistTM,, is an excellent alternative for healthy people between 5 and 49, most health care workers and those who have contacts with infants, Allan said. LAIV is only licensed for administration to these age groups.

 

Starting Oct. 24, flu shots will be opened up to people of all ages, according to Allan. "At that time, I strongly encourage anyone who wants to avoid becoming sick with influenza or avoid spreading it to friends and family to seek vaccination," she said.

 

Allan said if supplies are delayed or reduced further, health officials will inform providers and the public so those at risk of complications can be given priority for vaccination.

 

Influenza symptoms typically include abrupt onset of high fever, headache, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. Other respiratory infections that can be confused with influenza are usually milder and are more likely to start with sore throat, sneezing, runny nose and slight fever.

 

Persons seeking a vaccination should check with their health care provider, county health department or the flu hotline at (800) 978-3040 or (503) 872-6900 in the Portland area, or (800) SAFENET. Information is also available on the Web at the American Lung Association of Oregon's Web site. The information is updated regularly, and more clinics will be posted later in October, Allan said.