PLATTSBURGH - The Plattsburgh City School District has confirmed a student who attends Bailey Avenue Elementary School has been diagnosed with H1N1 influenza, marking the first reported case in Clinton County.
According to a press release issued by the Clinton County Health Department May 15, a child with a "significant underlying medical condition," tested positive for H1N1 May 14. The child is said to be recovering and "appropriate steps are being taken to identify close contacts to monitor for illness."
The child had recently traveled to a part of the state where H1N1 cases had previously been identified, the report further stated.
Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prohibit the school district or health department from releasing the name of the student, though, in a statement, school district James M. Short said the child is :receiving treatment and is recovering." The child had reportedly been out of school 48 hours when the announcement was made Friday.
According to the county health department, the child began experiencing "influenza-like symptoms" earlier in the week and was immediately placed on an antiviral medication in an effort to diminish the impact of the illness, which appears to have been effective.
The child was not hospitalized for the illness and no family members have since reported experiencing influenza-type illness. As of Friday, the child had not returned to school.
In his statement, Short said the New York State Education Department and the New York State Health Department no longer recommend schools be closed when a student tests positive for H1N1 influenza.
"While the district will not be adjourning our regular program, parents are always free to make their own decisions regarding their student(s) attendance," Short stated.
Over the last month the H1N1 virus had managed to spread across the country and throughout most of New York State. As more about the H1N1 strain of Type A influenza has been learned it has become apparent that for most people exposed, the illness results in mild to moderate illness.
Local health officials continue to advise all individuals to follow the following health tips to stay healthy:
Wash hands often with soap and warm water.
Use alcohol-based cleaners when soap and water is unavailable.
Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
Use tissues when you cough, sneeze, or spit and dispose of the tissue
in a covered trash bin.
Wash hands or use alcohol cleanser immediately after handling tissues.
Cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
Keep hands away from your face. Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
Clean surfaces in shared space such as phone receivers, keyboards and office equipment.
Do not share personal items such as forks, spoons, toothbrushes and towels.
If you are sick do not visit infants, the elderly, or those with serious medical conditions.
Try to keep six feet of space between you and other individuals who are coughing or sneezing.
It is not possible to contract H1N1 (swine flu) from eating pork or pork products.
For more information about H1N1 and additional precautionary measures and daily updates go to: Clinton County Health Department Web site, www.clintonhealth.org; New York State Web site, www.nyhealth.gov; or Center for Disease Control Web site, www.cdc.gov/swineflu.
Recorded messages about swine are available by calling the Clinton County Health Information Line at 565-4490 and by choosing option 2. The toll-free 24/7 NYS public call center is 1-800-808-1987 and connects to a live person.
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