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Health Department Responds to Swine Flu Cases with Information

April 26, 2009 — Just as officials declared a Public Health Emergency in the United States due to rapidly increasing cases of Swine Flu being reported across the North American continent, the V.I. Health Department reacted by issuing information Sunday evening about the disease that appears to be spreading from Mexico to Canada.
Reports of the deadly virus being diagnosed in the United States went from eight to 20 from Sunday morning until Sunday night. At about 9:30 p.m., the New York times was reporting eight cases in New York City, seven in California, two in Kansas, two in Texas and one in Ohio.
While no U.S. deaths have been reported as of Sunday night, the Times said the virus that has struck in America appears to be the same strain that has so far killed 86 people in Mexico and sickened 1,400.
However, a briefing from the Centers for Disease Control said only one of the people in the United States had been hospitalized; the rest had recovered.
The virus is a respiratory disease found regularly in pigs and that can be, but rarely is, passed to humans who have been in contact with swine. Once passed to humans from the animals, it is spread like any other virus from human to human. According to the Centers for Disease Control website, the agency generally gets about one report of human swine influenza virus infection every one to two years in the United States, but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported, the site said.
As of publication, there was no indication of any cases in the territory, but the CDC said with the spotlight on the virus officials expect the numbers nationwide to rise as more illnesses are identified as Swine Flu.
According to the release from the V.I. Health Department, the symptoms are similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy, according to the Centers for Disease Control website:
— 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 hands cleaners are also effective.
— Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
— Influenza is thought to spread mainly person to person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
— If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
"This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide new information as it becomes available," the website states.
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