Monday, April 27, 2009

Georgia: Swine Flu Update

In response to positive Swine Flu cases in California, Texas, Kansas, New York City, Michigan and Ohio; District Four is initiating active surveillance for this novel H1N1 Influenza in conjunction with the District Health Emergency Assessment and Response Team (DHEART) and County Health Emergency Assessment Response Teams (CHEART). Our goals this week are to rapidly identify initial cases and initiate epidemiologic evaluations/surveillance, inform and activate our Public Health staff and coordinate with our community partners as they activate and respond.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said Sunday afternoon that tests of the seasonal vaccine and the new virus show no cross-reaction, suggesting that people who got the vaccine have no added protection against the new bug.

CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it not known how easily the virus spreads between 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. If you become ill with influenza like symptoms and experience any of the following warning signs, seek medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

· Fast breathing or trouble breathing
· Bluish skin color
· Not drinking enough fluids
· Not waking up or not interacting
· Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
· Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse
· Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
· Sudden dizziness
· Confusion
· Severe or persistent vomiting

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.

We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces. It is also important to disinfect commonly used surfaces.

District 4 Health Services

More info on the CDC’s website
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