Child is 3rd person to catch swine flu in Mesa County

A child under the age of 5 has been hospitalized in Mesa County after contracting the H1N1 influenza virus, health officials announced Thursday.

It is the third confirmed swine-flu case in the county. A young adult tested positive for the virus in June after attending a wedding at Powderhorn Resort, and a 5-year-old child was taken to a Denver hospital after contracting the virus.

Mesa County Health Department officials declined to release additional information about the child and the most recent case, including whether the child attended a local school or day care center. Health Department spokeswoman Kristy Emerson said officials would contact a possibly affected school or day care center if they were concerned about the health of other children.

The third local case of swine flu coincides with the arrival of additional supplies from a national stockpile. The supplies, which consist of masks, gloves and gowns, were initially requested by Gov. Bill Ritter in April and were being stored in Denver. The supplies will go to local health care providers, who may need them during the upcoming flu season, the Health Department said.

Emerson said an H1N1 vaccine is undergoing clinical tests and should be available to the public in October.

While swine flu has garnered much media attention, health officials are urging people to get vaccinated this fall for more common seasonal flu.

Emerson said the vaccine is available through local pharmacies and some primary care providers and that the Health Department will offer vaccinations later this month.

She said it’s important for anyone who lives with or cares for a child 6 months or younger to get vaccinated, since those children themselves can’t get vaccinated. She said others close to the child getting vaccinated will help protect the child.


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