Swine Flu: 40 Confirmed Cases In 5 States

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The Atlantic County Division of Public Health is advising residents to take precautions after the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 40 confirmed human cases of the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus have been found in 5 states, including California, Kansas, New York, Ohio and Texas. Only one of the patients identified was reported to have been hospitalized and there are no reported deaths in the U.S. at this time.

The federal government issued a public health emergency on April 26 following the increasing number of confirmed cases of swine flu in Mexico that have resulted in more than 100 deaths and thousands of illnesses in that country. Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by a type A influenza virus. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, however, public health officials have determined that this strain of swine flu virus spreads from human to human.

Locally, Atlantic County health officials are working with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and health care providers to increase surveillance of influenza-like illnesses found throughout the county. Currently, there are no reported cases of swine flu in New Jersey.

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The symptoms of swine flu in humans are similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

“The best thing you can do to prevent exposure to illness and protect yourself and your family is to take regular flu precautions and practice proper hygiene,” stated Atlantic County Health Officer Patricia Diamond.

Health officials recommend taking the following precautions:

* Covering coughs and sneezes with tissues and disposing of them properly
* Frequently washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water
* Staying home if you are sick
* Seeing your physician if illness continues

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