The Kansas Department of Health and Environment today confirmed the deaths of three people who were infected with the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus.
None of the cases had underlying health conditions that placed them at greater risk of complications from H1N1 flu. Twelve people in Kansas have now reportedly died after being infected with H1N1.
The deaths occurred in the following individuals:
• A 52-year-old woman from the Wichita metropolitan area was confirmed to have pandemic H1N1 on Oct. 13. Her death was reported to KDHE on Tuesday.
• A 39-year-old man from the Kansas City metropolitan area was confirmed to have pandemic H1N1 on Oct. 15, and his death was reported to KDHE on Wednesday.
• A 51-year-old woman from the Topeka metropolitan area was confirmed with pandemic H1N1 on Tuesday. This woman’s death was also reported to KDHE on Wednesday.
None of the deaths occurred in Douglas County.
KDHE Secretary Roderick Bremby and Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, state health officer, expressed sympathy and offered their deepest condolences to the families involved.
“These deaths underscore the importance of doing everything that we can to protect ourselves and each other from H1N1,” Eberhart-Phillips said. “Besides vaccination and other preventive measures like frequent and thorough hand washing and properly covering coughs and sneezes, there are other steps that we can all take to significantly reduce our risk of catching and spreading flu viruses.”
According to Dr. Eberhart-Phillips, everyone should take the following health precautions:
• Monitor yourself and your family members every day for symptoms of influenza. Remain home at the first sign of illness. Try to limit the interaction between family members who are ill and those who are well. Remember that individuals with symptoms of influenza should stay isolated and not return to school or work for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone without taking fever-reducing medicine.
• Check to see if the schools and childcare facilities where your children attend monitor for illness and immediately isolate symptomatic children until they can be picked up. Find out if concerts or athletic events are postponed or altered when there are high levels of influenza-like illness among students and staff.
• At work, try to create at least 3-feet of space between yourself and co-workers. Learn all you can about your employer’s policies for sick leave. Ask if there are ways that you can work remotely from home if illness is prevalent at your workplace.
The H1N1 vaccine has started to arrive in Kansas, but at this time in very limited quantities.