SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold is announcing a new Web site system for reporting H1N1 flu activity in Illinois. Similar to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting system, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is no longer reporting confirmed and probable cases of H1N1 flu in Illinois on its Web site. Instead, IDPH has transitioned to using its traditional flu surveillance systems to track the both H1N1 flu and seasonal influenza. H1N1 flu data will continue to be collected, but the IDPH Web site will only report the number of confirmed hospitalizations and deaths related to H1N1 flu to determine the severity of flu activity in Illinois.
“Currently, only a small proportion of people with respiratory illness are tested for H1N1 flu. Confirmed and probable case counts underestimate the true number of people with H1N1 flu in Illinois, so the true benefit of reporting these numbers is questionable,” said Dr. Arnold. “In addition, because of the extensive spread of novel H1N1 flu within Illinois and the United States, counting individual cases has become time consuming and takes valuable resources away from important efforts to reduce the spread and impact of the virus.”
Dr. Arnold is reminding all Illinoisans that the H1N1 flu virus continues to circulate in Illinois and people should continue to take preventative steps to stay healthy and limit the spread of the virus.
“Although the rate at which we're seeing new H1N1 influenza virus cases in Illinois continues to slow, the Department is preparing for the possibility of a more severe outbreak of H1N1 flu in the fall. It is important for people to continue to take preventative measures and practice good hygiene and health etiquette. Doing so will help you avoid becoming sick and spreading illness,” said Dr. Arnold.
To stay healthy, follow 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
For additional information about H1N1 flu and the upcoming flu season log onto www.ready.illinois.gov. For a regional and county information, click on “more Illinois H1N1 statistics” on the H1N1 flu page.