Brunswick Co. officials prepare for H1N1

Reported by Laura Sinacori - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - With the first day of public school approaching, some Brunswick County officials met to discuss how to handle the H1N1 virus.

A new sub-committee was created based on the identification of the potential effects of a pandemic influenza on the county.

The group is working with several organizations to produce a road map for the county to be able to face a possible pandemic.  They hope the joint conversations will lead to changes that will limit the severity of H1N1 cases they see this year.

"We never want to put people in crisis mode, but this is something that is very serious and we need to make sure our students are aware that this is something that is out there that could impact our school district," said Brunswick County Superindentent Katie McGee.

Health Department officials said there is evidence that something is going to happen.

"The fact that currently the H1N1 cases are still getting sick with the flu and normally this isn't the time of year when we do get the flu," said Brunswick County Deputy Health Director Fred Michael. "That's a good indication that this strain is still hanging on."

Officials hope to form ideas that they can use in the event of a pandemic that will help them respond quickly and effectively.

"Things like sharing computers, a surveillance type system, using web EOC which is a system already in place," said Michael.  "It's important for surveillance because you need to know the extent of the outbreak occurring."

One simple thing Brunswick County officials hope to change, especially in schools, is the way people cover their mouths and noses when they sneeze or cough.  Instead of using your hands to cover your mouth, you should sneeze or cough into your arm so that you don't spread germs when you shake hands or touch things.

Also, according to the CDC, instead of keeping students home from school for seven days, children can now return to the classroom 24 hours after their fever breaks.

To learn more about H1N1 including potential vaccinations, visit the CDC website here.

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