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Health and Family Services Cabinet
H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Public Hotline Closing

Press Release Date:  Friday, January 22, 2010  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Gwenda Bond or Barbara Fox (502) 564-6786, ext. 3325 or 4411  


Web site, local health departments still available to help Kentuckians find information, vaccine

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2010)  – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) announced that the toll-free influenza hotline created to answer questions about H1N1 (swine flu) and seasonal flu is closing due to decreased call volume. Kentuckians are encouraged to contact their local health department or visit the Health Alerts Web site at http://healthalerts.ky.gov for up-to-date information about swine flu and where to receive the swine flu vaccine.
     The hotline launched in early October, and fielded approximately 10,000 calls. It can be reactivated if needed in the future. It was staffed by nurses and administered by Kosair Children’s Hospital, a part of Norton Healthcare, through a contract with DPH funded by a federal grant award related to H1N1 activities. Kosair Children’s Hospital also operates the state's Regional Poison Center hotline.    
    "I would like to extend our thanks to our partners at Kosair Children's Hospital for the excellent information they have provided Kentuckians about the current influenza pandemic," said DPH Commissioner William Hacker, M.D. "We encourage people to contact their local health departments with questions now, or to visit our Web site for the most up-to-date information. While we have seen a decrease in flu activity recently, it is still important for Kentuckians to receive the H1N1 vaccine. Flu is unpredictable, but we do know that if more people get protected by vaccine, the disease is less likely to spread in the coming months."
    The Health Alerts Web site has an easy-to-navigate format, and is updated regularly with new information about swine flu, as well as any other breaking health news. It includes resources for families and individuals, health care professionals, schools and day cares, other community organizations and business owners. It also provides information for the media.
    "I want to reassure Kentuckians that the swine flu vaccine is safe and effective, and was produced using the same methods as seasonal flu vaccine," said Dr. Hacker. "The swine flu vaccine is now widely available in communities across the state for anyone who wishes to receive it. We especially urge those with chronic health conditions that put them at risk of serious flu-related complications to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
     Target groups identified as being at higher risk for developing complications from flu include: pregnant women; people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months; children and young adults 6 months to 24 years of age; health care workers; and people with chronic health conditions that include asthma, neurological conditions, chronic lung and heart disease, and disorders of the kidney, liver, endocrine system and blood. Vaccination is also encouraged for all others at this time.
     For more information on seasonal and swine flu, visit http://healthalerts.ky.gov or follow KYHealthAlerts on Twitter.        
                                
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Last Updated 1/22/2010