Swine Flu Georgia
Although there have been no cases of swine flu in Georgia, state public health officials are stepping up their monitoring system and prevention efforts.
Doctors are being urged to consider the possibility of swine flu in patients with flu-like symptoms who have visited Mexico or the five states with confirmed cases, plus those who have come in contact with sick people from those areas.
Belen Moran, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Division of Public Health, said the agency is coordinating with all 18 public health districts, the state Emergency Management Agency, the Georgia Poison Center and hospitals.
The state public health lab has tested all influenza virus discovered this flu season, and as of Friday no swine flu had been found. Officials are recommending that people wash their hands often with soap and water, and stay home if they’re sick.
“We don’t have any cases in Georgia, but we don’t want people to take that for granted,” Moran said.
Meanwhile, Delta and AirTran, which have regularly scheduled flights between Atlanta and Mexico, haven’t changed screening procedures for flights to the country where dozens have been killed by swine flu.
But the airlines are in constant contact with the CDC about the situation.
Delta flies to Mexico three times a day from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, while AirTran flies three times a week.
“We are working directly with the CDC but at this point there has been no specific directive and no impact to our operations,” Delta spokesman Anthony Black said Sunday afternoon. “The report I’ve gotten is that operations are running normally.”
AirTran spokesman Christopher White said flight attendants are trained to “be on the lookout for any group of passengers with special symptoms,” adding that the airline is operating “at a normal state of alert.”
The swine flu outbreak might soon lead the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend against travel to Mexico. So far, the CDC has issued a travel alert regarding Mexico.
“We might be getting to the point soon where we’re recommending against travel to Mexico — I don’t know that we’re there quite yet,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said.
For those traveling to areas where swine flu has circulated, the agency also might issue yellow warning cards. The cards advise travelers to watch for the flu’s symptoms and see a doctor immediately if they exhibit any.
“Those are steps we might be taking here in the next few days,” Skinner said.
The CDC has confirmed eight cases in New York City, seven in California, two in Texas, two in Kansas and one in Ohio. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said eight students at a private Catholic high school likely got infected during a spring break trip to Mexico.
For more information on local prevention efforts, log on to http://www.health.state.ga.us/.