H1N1 flu continues to circulate

STATE—The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,268 cases of H1N1 influenza in Illinois, and four people diagnosed with the virus, all with underlying medical conditions, have died.

“We must continue to take precautions to avoid getting sick—such as washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home if you’re sick,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health Director. “The H1N1 influenza virus continues to circulate in Illinois, in the U.S. and throughout the world, and everyone, but especially those with underlying medical conditions, needs to take steps to avoid getting the flu.”

Like seasonal influenza, some people may be at greater risk of serious complications related to novel H1N1 infection and illness. People who are at high risk of serious seasonal flu-related complications include pregnant women, children younger than 5, people with chronic medical conditions and people 65 and older. Examples of chronic medical conditions include diabetes, asthma, heart disease and lung disease.

Two of the Illinois H1N1 influenza related deaths were Chicago residents, one a suburban Cook County resident and the fourth a Kane County resident. For confidentiality reasons and out of respect for the families, the Illinois Department of Public Health is not releasing any additional information about the four deaths.

Arnold said the department will continue to monitor the state for signs of increased virulence of H1N1 flu.