Health officials confirm H1N1 flu in Umatilla County

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Umatilla County Health Department officials announced today that a case of H1N1 influenza, or swine, flu virus has been confirmed in the eastern part of Umatilla County.

The ill adolescent is in critical condition in a Washington state hospital (not Walla Walla), said Genni Lehnert, administrator.

The youth tested positive for the H1N1 and is also being treated for other medical conditions. While the child is enrolled in the public school system, he or she was too ill to begin classes at the start of the school year, said Sherena Clements, emergency preparedness coordinator for Umatilla County.

"I am very concerned about this adolescent and want to encourage others to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves for both seasonal and H1N1 influenza," Lehnert said. "We just want folks to be aware that both are circulating."

No other members of the child's family has been diagnosed with flu at this time, she said, adding that her department will be facilitating H1N1 shot clinics as soon as a vaccine is available.

"The public will be well informed when the dates and locations have been determined. In addition to the H1N1 vaccine, the public is urged to get a seasonal flu shot now."

The swine flu is targeting young people and those that get particularly ill have underlying health conditions, Lehnert pointed out. "That can include diabetes, asthma and heart conditions. That will complicate things for kids with H1N1."

To help avoid flu:

The Umatilla County Health Department will present a vaccination clinic at the Milton-Freewater Community Building on Sept. 25, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for seasonal influenza, $30, and childhood vaccinations. People should bring insurance cards for billing purposes.

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