Three local youth were resting at home last week and expected to make a full recovery after the Licking County Health Department confirmed they had the H1N1 flu virus apparently contracted at the Hartford Fair.

Three local youth were resting at home last week and expected to make a full recovery after the Licking County Health Department confirmed they had the H1N1 flu virus apparently contracted at the Hartford Fair.

"After conducting an investigation into a suspected outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus at the Hartford Fair, our office has confirmed that we have three additional cases of the virus in Licking County," said Joe Ebel, Licking County health commissioner.

"There is no need for individuals that attended the fair to panic as a result of this information," Ebel said. "If these individuals develop flu-like symptoms they should contact their healthcare provider and follow their advice."

Chad Brown, director of Community Health Development, said the relationship among the three youngsters who attended the fair was unclear. One was from the Northridge Local Schools area, a second from the North Fork district and the third wasn't of school age.

The health department confirmed three other cases of H1N1 last month, none of whom were from the Johnstown area.

Ebel said he can't emphasize enough the importance of proper hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes in order to combat not only the H1N1 virus, but any virus.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has issued more stringent guidelines to local health departments regarding the submission of H1N1 samples for testing. The most recent guidelines indicate that only samples associated with individuals hospitalized with influenza-like symptoms or those associated with a cluster of such cases will be accepted for testing at the ODH laboratory.

Upon the recommendation of ODH, the health department will not submit any additional samples related to the Hartford Fair for testing.

Those who are sick should stay home from work or school until they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever for at least 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medicines. Anyone who is ill and develops warning signs that indicate the onset of a serious illness should see their healthcare provider immediately. Individuals who are not ill should avoid contact with those who are whenever possible.

Symptoms of H1N1 flu include a temperature higher than 100F, chills, sore throat, coughing, joint aches, and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

For more information and updates, visit www.lickingcohealth.org or call the Ohio H1N1 Flu Hotline: 1-866-800-1404.