By Johnny Jackson
State health officials have confirmed that the latest case of the novel Type-A H1N1 influenza virus has been found in a Clayton County infant.
The female child, less than a year old, was reported and tested sometime last week, according to Belen Moran, spokeswoman for the Georgia Division of Public Health.
"It is affecting everybody," Moran said. "The virus is out there; it's circulating all over Georgia."
Most confirmed cases have been confined to metro Atlanta and its outlying counties, though. Cherokee, Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton, Newton, Rockdale, Spalding, and Henry counties each has at least one confirmed case of H1N1.
Henry still has the most confirmed cases, of those reported, Moran added.
She said the most recent case in Clayton, however, has no apparent connection to those found last month in Henry County. Those cases were linked to Eagle's Landing Christian Academy, where H1N1 was initially detected in a 14-year-old student.
There are no newly confirmed cases from Henry County, she said. However, there may be three other cases in Newton and Rockdale counties associated with the 17-case Henry County cluster.
The Georgia Division of Public Health Laboratory confirmed the most recent case - one of a total of 32 confirmed cases in Georgia - late last week.
Moran said the laboratory has been testing for the virus since mid-May, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave clearance for the state to test for the particular strand of novel Type-A H1N1 virus.
"It is rare that the flu virus is still circulating entering the summer months," she continued. "The best thing is that the treatment for H1N1 is the same for seasonal flu. You can be treated at home."
Moran suggested that people continue to take precautions and make preparations for any possible viral infections, such as having a thermometer at home and having the name of a doctor handy.
"It's preparedness," she said. "Don't get caught asking yourself, 'What can I do, my teenager or child is sick?'"
Concerned parents can find tips for being prepared at the Public Health and CDC web sites, she said. She recommended viewing Public Health's YouTube Channel (www.YouTube.com/DHRcomm) as well for basic preparedness measures.
"In controlling infection, it shows you how to cough in your hands," she said. "People should keep on [following] the recommendations: Cover your mouth when you're coughing; be vigilant and aware of your body; call your doctor, if you are sick; and visit your doctor if you are not getting any better."
On the net:
Georgia Division of Public Health: www.health.state.ga.us/h1n1flu
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/H1N1FLU