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Swine flu confirmed in local church member

MDA decides to cancel camps after outbreaks at their facilities

POSTED: June 22, 2009 11:14 p.m.

A member of Gainesville First Baptist Church contracted the H1N1 virus during a youth conference last week, the Rev. Bill Coates confirmed Monday.

A youth member and youth pastor Chris Burns are also exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

“It seems to be well-contained and low key,” Coates said. “They’re all resting and recuperating.”

Youth group members attended a retreat in North Carolina and were exposed to a group from another state early in the week that included infected campers.

“The flu broke out among them, and by Friday one of our students had symptoms,” Coates said. “By the time he got home, he had a fever and sore throat and got started on Tamiflu right away.”

Burns and the chaperone showed symptoms by Saturday, and the chaperone tested positive for the H1N1 virus, Coates said.

“The youth was not actually tested, but the doctor said it showed all the classic symptoms,” Coates said. The three stayed home this weekend to reduce spread of the virus.

“For advice, No. 1, don’t panic,” Coates said. “And No. 2, just use common judgement by getting to your doctor at the first signs so you can get treatment and lessen the severity and length of the illness.”

Also, several documented cases of the H1N1 virus at camps sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association has led the organization to cancel the remaining 47 summer camps.

Over the past month, 1,800 children have attended 33 of the MDA camps nationwide; of those campers, there have been 11 confirmed and another six suspected H1N1 cases.

Several Hall County residents were planning to attend one of the camps in Morgan County later this week, said MDA staff. The camp is located about 70 miles south of Hall and could accommodate 130 campers between the ages of 6 and 21.

“We know how much summer camp means to Jerry’s Kids and their families who look forward to this happy week all year long. But with 11 confirmed cases and six suspected cases in three states, we can’t risk the health of the children who would be attending the camps,” Gerald C. Weinberg, MDA president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “We have an obligation to the parents of these children to ensure that safety is our top priority.”

Last week, Union for Reform Judaism Camp Coleman in Cleveland decided to postpone Sunday’s camp opening after some of the camp’s staff reported flu-like symptoms. Also last week, the H1N1 flu virus was confirmed in three campers at Camp Ramah Darom in Rabun County.



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