Levy Health Department addresses swine flu and the elderly

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By Carolyn Risner

While it may seem that the mainstream media is overlooking the elderly in its swine flu updates, the Levy County Health Department is taking measures to educate and inform the county's aged on the pandemic.

Monday morning, Liz Powers, director of nurses at the health department, addressed members of Williston's AARP to ensure correct information about H1N1, or swine flu, is disseminated throughout the county.

"The health department is staying close to those over 60," Powers said. "We want to provide accurate information to you in hopes you share it with others."

Powers gave a brief history lesson about the Spanish flu of 1918 that killed almost 100 million people. She said what many do not know is it was actually around in 1917 and worsened the following year.

"H1N1 is starting to creep," she said, "and become worse."

As of Sept. 8, there were 70 confirmed deaths from swine flu in Florida, and those deaths ranged in ages from 5-64.

In Levy County, Powers said, there have been 55 confirmed cases and no deaths. Two of those 55 cases were hospitalized for treatment, she added.

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