H1N1 Influenza Swine Flu Update
There is a push by several factors to change the name of swine flu. The proper scientific name is H1N1 influenza. Whichever name you use for swine flu, the virus continues to spread. The CDC reports confirmed cases in eleven states (Arizona, California, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and Texas. There remains only the one confirmed death in the U.S. The countries with confirmed cases include Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5 yesterday. At this time, WHO recommends that all countries immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans. Each country should remain on high alert.
It is important to remember that you do not get swine flu (H1N1 influenza) virus infection from eating pork or pig products. A person with the infection is potentially infectious from one day before to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
If you have a confirmed or suspected case of the H1N1 influenza, you are asked to stay at home (voluntary isolation) for a minimum of 7 days after you have checked with you physician. Checking with your physician is especially important if you are pregnant or have a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or emphysema. CDC guidance on care of patients at home can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/guidance_homecare.htm )
It bears repeating: It is important to continue to follow the advice already given about swine flu.
- If you do need to travel, whenever possible avoid crowded enclosed spaces and close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
- There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products.
- Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.
- Ill persons are encouraged to practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, wash hands). >> Learn more about flu and cold here.
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