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The state Department of Health has confirmed 83 additional cases of the swine flu over the past week.  The cases include 78 on Oahu, two each on Kauai and the Big Island, and a single case on Maui.

The new cases bring to 198 the total number of confirmed cases in the state.  The Maui case is the island’s first, although the official count stands at two because of a resident who became ill and recovered while in Washington State.

State Health Director, Chiyome Fukino says the number of cases are expected and are not alarming.  All cases are have recovered or are recovering at home with no complications.  Fukino went on to day, “To prevent further spread of illness, it is important that people with flu symptoms stay at home, and not expose others.”

To date, the Department of Health (DOH) has investigated and conducted case follow-up for over 1100 individuals tested for Influenza A. The DOH State Laboratories Division currently conducts subtype testing on approximately 60-120 Influenza A specimens each work day. Of specimens that have been positive for Influenza A, 5-10% are novel H1N1 of swine origin, 5-10% are seasonal H1 influenza, and 80-90% are seasonal H3 influenza.

Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should call a doctor and isolate themselves from other people. Guidelines for home care for individuals with the flu are available on the DOH website at www.hawaii.gov/health. The public may also call 211 for information on novel H1N1 Influenza. Aloha United Way’s 211 provides language interpretation and TDD/TTY services.

The state Department of Health advises the public to consult a physician if they have a fever higher than 100 degrees and a sore throat or cough. Proper hand washing can help prevent contracting the flu viruses along with avoiding touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth. Health officials say covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your inner arm can also reduce the spread of illness.

(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009)