Swine flu confirmed at county camp

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Members of the Barry County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Barry County Health Department recently worked in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) to identify the Influenza A type virus that affected several children attending Kids Across America, a Barry County summer camp located near Golden, last week.

According to Barry County OEM Director David Compton, officials had tested eight people who were suspicious of having the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as swine flu, and confirmed that there were seven individuals who had tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

"Because of all the summer camps in Barry County, there are a couple of thousand people who come here from across the country," said Compton. "I'm surprised it took so long for Barry County to have a confirmed case."

The initial case was identified as suspicious by an emergency room physician. Following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) screening guidelines, samples were obtained and then taken to the Missouri State Public Health laboratory for further analysis. Through the state's health lab, preliminary findings determined that it was a probable case of H1N1 influenza.

All individuals who had or may have been in contact with those who tested positive for the H1N1 virus have been contacted and tested or treated as appropriate, Compton said.

Those with confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza have been treated with the appropriate antiviral medication.

The Barry County Health Department worked in close coordination with the Barry County OEM, Cox Monett Hospital, St. John's Hospital-Cassville and area clinics and doctors offices.

"As it became more likely that we potentially would have cases present in Barry County, the emergency management office and the health department began implementing the county's Pandemic Flu plan," Compton said. "The health department administrator and I spoke daily to discuss the situation, share information and maintain a high degree of visibility on the situation.

According to Compton, the county has adequate supplies of the antiviral medication needed to treat this flu.

"We have every confidence in the healthcare delivery system in Barry County and southwest Missouri," Compton said. "Our healthcare network will screen and identify those in need of the antiviral medicine, as needed, and the state's public health and emergency management will ensure that those medications are available."

Compton was confident that Barry County is prepared and capable of handling any future situations should they arise.

"Please know we will get through this," Compton said. "The people of Barry County and southwest Missouri are tenacious and together we will survive this as we have survived so many other challenges from man and Mother Nature."

According to Compton, the facilities at Kids Across America were thoroughly disinfected over the weekend prior to new campers' arrival on Monday.

In addition, health department officials located where those who had tested positive live and are taking the appropriate measures necessary to continue controlling of the situation.

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