One confirmed case of H1N1 virus in Montgomery County

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas - Test results have confirmed that one of four patients who remain hospitalized in Montgomery County has the H1N1 influenza virus, officials said Wednesday.

Two others tested negative for H1N1 viruses and another is still waiting test results.

The Montgomery County Public Health District was alerted about eight influenza-like cases at an area facility. Four of the patients died and four remain hospitalized. Initial testing came back negative for the most common types of flu.

Dr. Mark Escott with the Montgomery County Hospital District said specimens will now be sent to the state's laboratory and the CDC for further testing. They are also consulting with state and federal health officials to determine if further testing can be done to determine what led to the four fatalities.

According to the state's latest flu surveillance figures, H1N1 is the most predominant strain of influenza that is being seen across the state.

Public health officials say this year's vaccine does protect against H1N1 and they are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated if they haven't already done so. Officials in Montgomery County don't believe any of the four people who died had received the flu vaccine.

In addition, physicians who see flu-like symptoms are being advised order a more comprehensive PCR test if initial rapid tests come back negative for influenza.

A spokesperson for the Department of State Health Services said rapid influenza tests have shown to be unreliable when it comes to detecting H1N1.

The CDC recommends flu shots. The Montgomery County Public Health Clinic is offering the vaccination, while supplies last. Call (936) 523-5020 to make an appointment.

For questions or concerns, please contact the Public Health Hotline at (936) 523-5050.

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