Second case of H1N1 confirmed in Cape Girardeau County

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center has confirmed a second case of the H1N1 virus.

According to Vanessa Landers, a public health nurse with the health center, a 16-year-old boy tested positive for the virus last week after a visit to the center's rural health clinic.

"As far as we know he recovered quite well," Landers said. "Now that we know it's here as we suspected, we probably won't test much more in our clinic. A nurse practitioner will decide on a case-by-case basis if it's necessary."

Since flu season began Oct. 3, the health center has confirmed 39 cases of influenza type A. Landers said that's a slight increase from the same period in 2008. Most people who have tested positive for influenza type A in the county are between the ages of 5 and 14. The H1N1 virus is part of the type A family.

"For some reason this strain of flu is hitting this particular age group the hardest," Landers said. "But we're at the early beginning stages of flu season, so we have a long way to go until it ends around May."

The health center received its first shipment of 400 doses of the H1N1 vaccine Oct. 5. The nasal spray was distributed to health care workers and emergency responders.

On Tuesday the center received an additional shipment of 400 doses of the nasal spray and 400 injectable doses with preservatives for distribution to the two priority groups. A hundred doses of the preservative-free injectable vaccine the center received could soon be available for pregnant women.

While Cape Girardeau County received its shipment from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services last week, other counties received their first shipments this week.

Judy Laurentius, administrator of the Perry County Health Center, said the center received 100 doses of the nasal mist, which it plans to distribute to health care workers and emergency responders Thursday.

"It's just a matter of waiting and getting the vaccine in our hands when it's delivered," she said. "The best we can tell people is to wash their hands and stay home when they're sick."

And Barry Cook, administrator of the Scott County Health Department, reported getting 200 doses of the nasal spray and 300 doses of the injectable vaccine Tuesday. Cook said the center is still waiting on its first order of 200 nasal spray vaccines, which were scheduled to arrive last week.

"When will they and our other orders arrive?" Cook said. "That's the 50 million dollar question. We'll have to be patient. We've been told from the federal government that though it will take some time, we'll get all the doses eventually."

Meanwhile, the Bollinger County Public Health Center is still waiting on its order of 100 nasal spray vaccines. The center also has not received its order for 100 doses of the injectable vaccine.

Heath center administrator Beverly Piepenbrok called the delay discouraging.

"We should be getting our order soon but haven't been told when exactly," Piepenbrok said. "When Cape Girardeau County got theirs, I thought we'd get our order. As soon as we get the vaccine we'll do everything in our power to get the word out to people."

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 571 confirmed and probable cases of H1N1 through Tuesday. Among the hardest hit areas were Pulaski County with 100 cases, Kansas City County with 84 and St. Louis County with 64. Cape Girardeau County's other confirmed H1N1 case was in May, when a man in his 70s was infected with the virus, though he fully recovered, according to health center officials.


Pertinent address:

1121 Linden St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

1001 Highway 25, Bloomfield, Mo.

102 Groves Estates Court, Sikeston, Mo.

405 N. Spring St., Perryville, Mo.

107 US 51, Marble Hill, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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