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May 5, 2009

Illinois Performing Confirmatory Testing for H1N1 Flu
State public health officials report 82 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health Director, today reported 82 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu (swine flu) and 40 probable cases in Illinois.  This number increased significantly from yesterday’s total of nine confirmed cases in Illinois.  Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) laboratories are now able to perform confirmatory testing, which is why we saw such a large increase in confirmed cases from yesterday to today. 

“The large increase in the number of confirmed cases was expected and is not cause for alarm.  It does not mean there is a dramatic increase of the H1N1 flu in Illinois communities, it simply means we are now able to perform confirmatory testing at the state level and can therefore obtain confirmed results more quickly,” said Dr. Arnold.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent testing reagents to the IDPH laboratories over the weekend.  Illinois was one of the first two states in the country to be approved by the CDC to conduct confirmatory testing for H1N1 flu in the IDPH laboratories.  Previously IDPH had to send specimens of probable H1N1 flu cases to CDC for confirmatory testing.  IDPH can typically complete testing of a specimen within 48 hours of receiving it. 

Dr. Arnold reminds people to take precautions to stay healthy by following the three C’s – Clean – properly wash your hands frequently, Cover – cover your cough and sneeze, Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency set up a hotline number last week for Illinois residents to call and ask questions about H1N1 flu.  As of this morning, there have been approximately 500 calls to the hotline.  The hotline (866-848-2094 for English, 866-241-2138 for Spanish) operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 

“The Illinois Department of Public Health continues to be vigilant and will respond to the changing outbreak as needed,” said Dr. Arnold.

For additional information on staying healthy, school guidance, the number of H1N1 cases and more, go to www.ready.illinois.gov.


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