Date: 07/30/2009

Briefing by CDPHE on the H1N1 Virus


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

11:04 AM -- Briefing by CDPHE on the H1N1 Virus

Dr. Ned Calonge, Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health Environment (CDPHE), introduced the presenters. Dr. Bernadette Albanese, Medical Director, El Paso County Health Department, discussed the H1N1 virus outbreaks in El Paso County and the county approach to such outbreaks. The Air Force Academy is a federal entity with a complex infrastructure and established policies and procedures. This is contrasted with summer camps and other more informal groups from which outbreaks have been reported. Dr. Albanese discussed the Air Force Academy outbreak in detail. Simply put, the way to stop the spread of a virus is to separate sick individuals from those who are not sick. Screening and isolation procedures are key. She stressed the importance of partnership between county health officials and entities experiencing an outbreak.

11:15 AM

Dr. Lisa Miller, Director, Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division, CDPHE, discussed the counting and reporting of influenza and influenza-like illnesses. Clinics, laboratories, hospitals, and other facilities are monitored by CDPHE. Dr. Miller stressed that the department cannot possibly count every single case. This particular strain of influenza is affecting children and adolescents, but is by and large not affecting the elderly. The department does not want to create a burden for hospitals.

11:20 AM

Dr. Calonge discussed the planning process for a flu season. It is important to determine what type of flu is presenting and the severity of the virus in a given area. He pointed out that public health is a shared partnership between state and local health departments. H1N1 is circulating and it will be circulating when schools open in a few weeks. CDPHE is working with the Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education on planning activities to handle transmission of the virus through schools. Vaccines are scheduled to arrive in October and the department is working on distribution strategies. Senator Spence asked about diagnosis of H1N1 and other strains of influenza. Dr. Calonge discussed testing and stated that treatment is identical for all types of influenza. He stated that the CDPHE has no mandatory vaccination authority and does not want such authority.

11:34 AM

The committee continued to discuss the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus.