Nevada draws up plan for flu
April 28, 2009
CARSON CITY ” State officials on Monday outlined aggressive efforts to deal with swine flu in the event the contagious virus, which has been detected in several other states, shows up in Nevada.
While there have been no confirmed cases of swine flu in Nevada, outbreaks elsewhere “have got our attention,” Gov. Jim Gibbons said, adding that this state has a response plan based on “standard operating procedures.”
Mike Willden, the state’s health and human services chief, added that Nevada has access to hundreds of thousands of stockpiled doses of medicine for treating people should an outbreak occur. More than three-quarters of those doses would be for people in the Las Vegas area, Nevada’s population center, he added.
Willden also said samples from four Nevadans with flu-like symptoms were tested over the weekend and the lab tests came back negative. Two of those cases were from Carson City. He also said state officials are staying in daily contact with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re not seeing anything that we’re worried about,” Willden said, adding that the planning efforts are “what we do in the public preparedness world. We plan for the worst, we get ready to treat, and we try to prevent disease spread, and that’s what we’re doing today.”
State Health Officer Mary Guinan said people who get swine flu “feel like they’ve been hit by a bus.” She added that there has been no increase in any kind of flu in Nevada.
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Guinan also said Nevada’s influenza season is nearly over but hasn’t officially ended. As a result, she said a flu monitoring system, which includes more than 60 surveillance sites around the state, is still in place.
Nevada gets heavy tourist traffic from around the world, but Rick Eaton, state homeland security director, said there are no travel restrictions at this time. Janet Napolitano, head of the federal Homeland Security Department, has said travel warnings for trips to Mexico would remain as long as swine flu is detected.
The confirmed cases elsewhere in the U.S. include 28 cases in New York City, seven in California, two apiece in Kansas and Texas and one case in Ohio. All have been mild cases and the victims have recovered.
The outbreak began in Mexico, where more than 1,600 cases have been reported and where the suspected death toll has climbed to 149.
What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
– Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
– Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
– If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.