Swine Flu West Virginia
No cases of swine flu have been reported in West Virginia yet, but health officials already are preparing for the worst.
This latest health threat has prompted every state to put their emergency plans into action. Over the weekend, the West Virginia Bureau of Health was working to make sure they were ready to alert the public of any danger.
“We're preparing public information sheets for the public; we've prepared a health alert to go out to all providers,” said state epidemiologist Loretta Haddy.
Now that people are on the lookout for the virus, more cases are likely to pop up.
“Will we see cases in West Virginia? Probably so. Is there a reason to panic? Not at this time,” Haddy said.
While the symptoms are very similar to the common human flu, it’s a new strain.
“There is not a vaccine readily available for swine flu, so precautions and prevention is the best measure right now for people to take,” said Janet Briscoe, the Kanawha County Health Department director of epidemiology.
Preventing the swine flu is as simple as following the precautions of the normal flu. You should wash your hands thoroughly, cover your mouth when you cough and, if you fell sick, you should just stay at home.
Elizabeth Ayers, public information officer for Cabell-Huntington Health Department, said the global concern derives from how swine flu is usually not transmitted between humans.
According to the CDC, 12 cases of human infection with swine flu were reported between December 2005 and February 2009. As of 3 p.m. Monday, there were 1,995 suspected cases of swine flu in Mexico.
"There is no need to be panicked at this point," Ayers said. "We just need to take precautionary steps."
She said students can help prevent an outbreak by washing their hands, covering their mouths when coughing and maintaining their overall health.
"Just make sure that they are getting enough sleep and washing their hands, especially if they're in the dorms," she said.
In a news release from the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, the public is recommended to stay home if anyone has any symptoms of febrile respiratory illnesses to avoid spreading infections.
In the case of an outbreak in West Virginia, Ayers said news outlets would be contacted immediately. The reaction to an outbreak will depend on the nature of the case, she said. For example, if a Marshall student is diagnosed with the swine flu, precautionary measures will take place in order to ensure the sanitation wherever that student has been.
According to the CDC, there are four antivirals that can be used to treat the virus. These medications include amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. There is a strain of swine influenza, however, that is resistant to amantadine and rimantadine.
More information can be found on the World Health Organization and CDC's Web sites.