TWO MOST FREQUENT QUESTIONS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH HOTLINE
May 4, 2009
To provide information about the new H1N1 influenza virus to the public and answer questions from the community, the Knox County Health Department has established the Public Health Hotline, which is dedicated to flu-related inquiries. The phone lines are currently open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hours may change as the situation develops.
In addition, Knox County public health officials would like to take this opportunity to answer the two questions that have been most frequently asked to our staff manning the hotline to date.
Parents and students of any school closed for illness are asked to voluntarily stay home to reduce risk of transmission (whether or not they have flu symptoms). They should not be attending sporting or other events, especially if they are sick. Since the closeness of contact varies by activity, Knox County Health Department advises parents to use their own discretion when deciding whether to allow their children to participate in outside activities in which they may come in contact with students from a school closed due to illness.
Standard flu prevention measures include good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you are ill.
The short answer is: There is no reason to – yet.
The recommendation to close a school and cancel school sponsored events is based on an effective strategy known as social distancing or non-pharmacologic interventions (NPI). Since no one has immunity to this new strain of flu virus, public health officials try to slow down transmission by limiting contact of infected groups. Focusing on the location where illness is present is a proven method of slowing disease. By closing just one school, officials hope to slow the spread of H1N1 and decrease disruption in our community.
Knox County has one probable case affecting one school, so that school was closed, per CDC guidelines. As more flu cases develop, as they surely will, there is the possibility for more school closings. More information on school closure is available at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/k12_dismissal.htm
- As of Sunday, May 3, Knox County has its first probable case of H1N1 influenza A, also known as swine flu. Following recommendations from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Tennessee Department of Health, the school the patient attended, West Valley Middle School, has been closed for the recommended seven calendar day (five school days) and the situation will be reevaluated on Friday, May 8 to determine if further action is needed to slow the spread of the virus in the community.
For more information and frequent updates: http://knoxcounty.org/health
Questions about flu: 215-5093. Phone lines will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.