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Kentucky Reports First Swine Flu Cases

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Gov. Steve Beshear announced that the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) will report one confirmed case and one probable case of swine flu to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today.

“Like the rest of the nation, we are concerned about the spread of this new strain of swine flu," said Gov. Beshear. "I want to assure Kentuckians that health officials here are responding aggressively to detect possible cases of swine flu and respond with the appropriate preventive measures. Individuals should continue to monitor this situation as it develops and practice basic measures to stay healthy, such as hand washing and staying home when sick."

The confirmed case involves a woman from Warren County who had recently traveled to Mexico. The patient is currently hospitalized in Georgia, and samples were submitted to CDC for confirmation by Georgia health officials. Officials from the Barren River Health District are actively investigating the circumstances of this case to determine whether any contacts of the patient may be ill or need preventive treatment.

The probable case that is being reported involves an infant from another area within the Barren River Health District who had been in close contact with an individual who recently traveled to Mexico. It is unrelated to the confirmed case. The child's family and other close contacts are being evaluated for illness and possible preventive treatment. The child has not been hospitalized. A sample from the patient has been sent to the CDC for further testing to determine whether swine flu is the cause of illness. The name of the county in which the patient resides will be released if the case is confirmed.

Kentucky health officials ask that Kentuckians who have traveled recently to Mexico or other countries or communities within the U.S. where the new H1N1 influenza strain known as swine flu has been reported, or who are planning such travel, be alert for the symptoms of swine flu in the following ways:

- Monitor yourself and travel companions for symptoms of fever, chills, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches, and vomiting or diarrhea.

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- If symptoms of illness develop within seven days of travel return, seek evaluation by a health care provider as soon as possible.

- Be sure to tell your health care provider about your recent travel and suggest testing for influenza.

- Stay home from work, school and other public places until you are feeling well.

People who have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with swine flu or who reside in communities where there are one or more confirmed swine flu cases should also be alert for these symptoms.

"There are many things we don't yet know about this illness," said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of DPH. "That is why we are responding with an abundance of caution and monitoring its spread so closely. At this point, individuals should remain aware of developments related to swine flu and practice good health habits."

Common sense precautions to prevent illness include: avoiding close contact with those who are ill; staying home when sick; covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth; and frequent hand washing.

Currently, there are more than 90 confirmed cases of swine flu reported in the U.S., a number that is expected to continue to grow. The World Health Organization and CDC have reported numerous human cases of a severe respiratory illness in at least three different regions of Mexico. The number of cases has risen steadily during April 2009. Laboratory testing of patient specimens has confirmed infections with swine influenza ("swine flu") A/H1N1 virus. This is a newly emerging, animal-origin virus that is now being spread from an infected person to another person.