County resident dies from H1N1
Published 8:15 pm Saturday, October 17, 2009
By By Adam Prestridge
The first death from the H1N1 virus in Escambia County was reported Friday morning by the Alabama Department of Public Health.
The victim, reported as a male in his 40s, tested positive for 2009 H1N1 influenza earlier this week, health officials said.
Escambia County’s case increases the state death total to 18, including residents of Bullock, Calhoun, Cherokee, Dale, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Macon, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Russell and Talladega counties.
Elliott said cases of H1N1 continue to grow throughout the county.
Some vaccine in a nasal spray has arrived in the county, and those are being administered by private providers such as pediatricians. The health department has directed the flu mist to private providers, Elliott said. Flu shots to protect against H1N1 have not yet arrived.
When H1N1 first was detected in Escambia County, Elliott said his staff kept count of the number of cases in the county.
Once the injectable H1N1 vaccine arrives in the county, Elliott said the health department would focus on the following target groups first: children and young people 6 months to 24 years old, pregnant women, individuals older than 24 years of age with underlying health conditions and caregivers of children 6 months of age and under.
In an effort to quickly reach those target groups, the health department has teamed up with local schools and will soon hold voluntary flu clinics at each school in the county.
Elliot reiterated that the clinics will be voluntary and that students will be sent home with a letter for parents to sign authorizing the H1N1 vaccination.
Elliott said he is uncertain how much vaccine Escambia County will receive, but he said he is confident that there will be enough to go around at all of the schools. By the middle of December, the state of Alabama should have received about 2.8 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine, he said.
As for seasonal flu, Elliott said a shipment of vaccine recently arrived at the health department, which will hold clinics in Atmore and Brewton next week administering the vaccine to both children and adults at no cost. The clinic will be held from 1 until 4 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Atmore health department office and from 8 until 11 a.m. Oct. 22 at the Brewton health department office.
No appointment is needed. These will be walk-in clinics.
Additional information can be obtained by contact the Escambia County Health Department in Atmore at 368-9188 or Brewton at 251-867-5765.
When H1N1 influenza vaccine becomes available, locations, dates and times of clinics will be announced at www.adph.org.