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DHS news release

Oct. 12, 2007

General contact: Bonnie Widerburg, 971-673-1282
Program contacts: Paul Cieslak, M.D., 971-673-1111
Lorraine Duncan, 971-673-0283
Charlie Fautin, R.N., M.P.H, Benton County Health Dept., 541-766-6840

Flu confirmed in Oregon resident

The state's first confirmed influenza case of the season has been reported to the Oregon Department of Human Services Public Health Division, state officials announced today.

The case of influenza B occurred in an Oregon State University student, who is recovering. The initial finding was reported by OSU Student Health Services, and the Oregon State Public Health Lab confirmed the result.

"Flu has arrived in Oregon and we expect more cases in the coming weeks," said Susan Allan, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., state public health director in DHS. "This is a good time to seek vaccination, which is the best protection against influenza. Take advantage of any opportunity you have to get the vaccine."

Allan noted that getting immunized also helps protect others in the community, because as more people get vaccinated, the spread of disease is reduced. "It keeps you from being miserable with the flu and it keeps you from infecting others," she said.

Oregon has already received more than 700,000 doses of influenza vaccine, and a record supply is expected this season, Allan said.

Vaccination is recommended for anyone who wants to avoid being sick from flu, especially those who are at high risk of complications from influenza or are in close contact with those at high risk. Priority groups for vaccination are:

  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years,
  • Pregnant women,
  • People 50 years of age and older,
  • People of any age with chronic medical conditions,
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,
  • People who live with or care for people at high risk of complications, such as household contacts, out-of-home caregivers of children 6 months and younger,
  • Healthcare workers, and
  • School-age children.

For many people, the nasal spray vaccine FluMist® is a good alternative to the injectable vaccine if they are healthy and between the ages of 5 and 49, Allan said.

Influenza is characterized by abrupt onset of high fever, headache, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. Unlike other common respiratory illnesses, it is associated with extreme fatigue and loss of appetite lasting several days.

It is estimated that almost 450 Oregonians die of influenza every year; nationally flu kills an estimated 36,000 people every year.

Information on clinic locations and dates can be obtained by calling 1-800-SAFENET or at the Lung Association's​ flu clinic locator Web site.