State health officials have confirmed more than 100 cases of the variant influenza A virus in 18 counties throughout Indiana, with more cases expected to be confirmed as state and local health officials continue to investigate the outbreak.
One hundred eighteen Variant influenza A cases have been confirmed in the following counties: Bartholomew, Greene, Hamilton, Hendricks, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Lawrence, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Porter, Scott, Tipton, Washington, and White. No cases have been reported in Starke, Pulaski, or Marshall counties as of yet.
A call center has been established by the Indiana State Department of Health to answer the general public’s questions regarding the virus. The call center is open from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (877) 826-0011.
State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin says the virus is a mild illness similar to the seasonal flu, but because it’s relatively new – having just been seen for the first time in July 2011 – a vaccine is not yet available. However, Larkin says people can protect themselves by practicing thorough and frequent hand washing, and by being mindful not to eat around barn animals.
Symptoms of variant influenza A include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, and runny nose, and other symptoms including body aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Larkin says symptoms may last anywhere from three to eight days.