Hilton Head sanitizes town hall after employee comes down with the flu

Town of Hilton Head Island officials are taking extra measures to clean town hall and fire stations after learning an employee is believed to have the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, according to an e-mail town manager Steve Riley sent to staff members Friday afternoon.

The case is not confirmed because the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is no longer testing for the virus, according to the e-mail. Anyone with flu symptoms is being treated for the H1N1 virus because it is the primary strain circulating, Riley wrote.No information was released about the employee.

At town hall and at the island's seven fire stations, cleaning crews were directed to wipe down frequently touched surfaces, including countertops, telephones and door handles, the town manager wrote. The town also will provide disinfectant wipes so employees can clean their offices.

"We're going to follow the guidelines from DHEC," Riley said Saturday afternoon.

Last Tuesday, the Children's Center on Hilton Head discovered a 1-year-old girl who attends the center had a confirmed case of H1N1.She spent several days at Beaufort Memorial Hospital after her father noticed she was having difficulty breathing. Like the Town of Hilton Head, the day care center scheduled heavy cleanings of its facility.

Earlier this week, Nick Davidson, DHEC's local public health preparedness director, said there are few differences between the signs and symptoms of the H1N1 virus and the seasonal flu.

"You don't need to react any differently than cases in mid-winter," he said last Wednesday.

Davidson said DHEC will offer seasonal flu vaccines in the fall and vaccines for the H1N1 virus by the end of the year.