California Swine Influenza Health Alert

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

As of April 23, 2009, five California residents (three children and two adults) have been diagnosed with swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection. Three are residents of San Diego County and two are residents of Imperial County. There are no known links between these patients, no known common exposures and no known pig exposure. Four patients had mild and short term influenza-like illness; one patient was hospitalized. All have recovered.

The viruses from the five cases are closely related genetically and contain a unique combination of gene segments that have not previously been reported in the United States or elsewhere. There are no vaccines but standard influenza precautions are effective.

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu do occur. Since 2005, 12 human cases of swine flu have been detected in other parts of the United States; all patients recovered. Although it has been documented, human-to-human transmission of swine flu is rare. However, the current situation in California

suggests that human-to-human transmission may be occurring.


Although the current influenza season has been mild this year, Kern County Public Health encourages the community to take the following steps to stop the spread of influenza and other respiratory illnesses:

* Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illness to co-workers and friends.

* Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues.

* Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to get rid of most germs and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

* Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest and exercise.