Health Officials Monitoring Swine Flu
Swine flu has not been confirmed in North Carolina, but the Moore County Health Department is closely monitoring the situation, just to be on the safe side.
As of late Tuesday, no cases of swine flu had been confirmed anywhere in North Carolina, but state health officials are looking into a number of suspected cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did report the confirmation of 64 cases in humans in five other states -- California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and New York.
Moore County Health Director Robert R. Wittmann said he is joining other local and state public health officials in asking all residents to stay informed about the latest developments and to follow the same health precautions they take during any flu season.
"We want Moore County citizens to know that we are closely monitoring the situation in cooperation with the CDC and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services," Wittmann said. "We will work with local health-care providers, agencies and services to ensure that everyone has the latest information on prevention, disease control, diagnosis and treatment."
On Monday the World Health Organization raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 3 to phase 4, Wittmann said.
"The change to a higher phase of pandemic alert indicates that the likelihood of a pandemic has increased, but not that a pandemic is inevitable," he said. "The decision was based mainly on epidemiological data that demonstrated human-to-human transmission and the ability of the virus to cause community-level outbreaks."
Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by Type A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu virus can be transmitted from pigs to humans through contact with live pigs, and cases of human-to-human spread have been documented, according to the CDC. Public health officials have determined that this strain of swine flu spreads from human to human and can cause illness.
Symptoms are similar to those of regular influenza.
Local health officials recommend that everyone remain alert to these symptoms and seek advice from his or her health-care provider if these symptoms are experienced:
Fever greater than 100 degrees
Headache and body aches.
Some patients also experience nausea and diarrhea.
Wittmann also said anyone who has recently traveled to southern California, Texas or Mexico and has developed flu-like symptoms should contact his or her health-care provider.
"A lab test is needed to determine if you have swine flu," Wittmann said. "Also, citizens traveling from the United States to affected areas should be aware of the risk of illness with swine flu and take precautions."
For the best protection against the virus, the CDC recommends that everyone take the following precautions:
Wash your hands often. This will help protect against germs.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. This may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her nose, mouth or eyes.
Stay home when you are sick. Do not go to work, school and other public places.
Avoid close contact with sick people.
If you are sick, keep your distance from others for their protection.
Additional information about swine flu and how to protect yourself and your family against the disease is available by calling (800) 662-7030 (Care-Line English/Spanish) or (877) 452-2514 (TTY).
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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