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Cases of swine flu confirmed at county camp

Friday, July 17, 2009

Even summer camps have proven not to be immune from health issues stemming from the spread of flu. The above camp is not in question or the source of any problems. It is one of several camps that hold sessions in the bi-county area over the summer. The Kids Across America camp near Golden experienced several cases of the H1N1 virus this week, according to David Compton, Barry County emergency management director.
Members of the Barry County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Barry County Health Department are currently working in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) to identify the Influenza A type virus that has affected several children attending Kids Across America, a Barry County summer camp located near Golden.

According to Barry County OEM Director David Compton, officials tested eight people who were suspicious of having the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as swine flu, and have confirmed that seven were 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," stated 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.

In an effort to protect the identities of those involved, no additional information about the specific cases will be released. However, all individuals who have or may have been in contact with those who tested positive for the H1N1 virus are being contacted and will be tested or treated as appropriate, Compton said.

Those with confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza are currently being treated with the appropriate antiviral medication.

The Barry County Health Department is working 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 have spoken daily to discuss current situations, share information and maintain a high degree of visibility on the situation.

"While there is currently only one identified case, we (Barry County OEM and Barry County Health Department) understand that we are likely to see additional cases," Compton added.

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

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

Compton was confident the county is preparted and able to deal with the current situation.

"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."

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