Health & Medicine

Ky. adds four swine flu cases

Kentucky health officials confirmed four new swine flu cases in the state Thursday, including a Lexington man who became ill on a trip to Nevada.

The Lexington patient remains in Nevada and is being treated there with anti-viral medicine, according to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. Officials think he picked up the flu virus in Nevada, not Kentucky.

The other three new cases confirmed Thursday are in Lincoln, Mercer and Jefferson counties, state health officials said.

That brings the state total to 24 confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County health and education officials held a joint press conference Thursday to reassure the public after a middle school there recorded two confirmed and two probable cases of flu.

"We wanted to reassure them that the kids and their welfare are very important to us, and that it's OK to send their kids to school," said Kathy Harrison, a spokeswoman with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. "But we are not going to recommend closing the school. We're just not seeing severe illness with the cases here."

Problems at Louisville's Meyzeek Middle School began Monday, when a staff member was confirmed to have H1N1 swine flu. Now a Meyzeek student also has been confirmed to have swine flu and two other people at the school have probable cases, according to Harrison.

The student with confirmed flu was not seriously ill but had not returned to class, health officials said. The staff member has returned to school, officials said.

In Richmond, health officials continued to monitor about 20 people who have flu-like symptoms at a supported-living facility for mentally retarded and developmentally disabled residents. Patients at the facility are receiving medicine and are under quarantine to prevent further spread of the virus, while officials await test results.

One person at the facility has been confirmed to have swine flu, and health officials said others there who have symptoms probably also have the flu. Symptoms so far have been mild, and no one has been placed in the hospital, Madison County health officials said.

The state's most seriously ill flu patient might be a Bowling Green-area woman who was the first Kentuckian to be confirmed as having the illness.

The woman was hospitalized in Georgia late last month after becoming ill during a trip there. She remains in the hospital, the Georgia Division of Health confirmed Thursday.

According to Kentucky health authorities, the woman's case might be complicated by underlying health factors.

A county breakdown of Kentucky flu cases and other flu information is available at http://healthalerts.ky.gov. Information also is available at the Fayette health department; call 859-288-7529 during work hours.

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