The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a news conference today to try to calm fears over the increase in swine flu from contact with live pigs at state fairs around the country. There are currently 152 cases: Indiana (120), Ohio (30), Illinois (1), and Hawaii (1). Two people have been hospitalized, but they have recovered and have been released. Most of the ill were children who had direct contact with live swine.
We told you about this outbreak last week, when there were 29 cases. The startling increase in the case count prompted the news conference.
Dr. Joseph Bresee from the CDC’s Influenza Division said this is not a pandemic. August is the month of state fairs, which explains the increase. He also stated that changes in the way “positives” are identified have played a role in the increase. States now confirm their own positive cases, instead of having them confirmed in CDC labs. Dr. Bresee did say that the number of cases is expected to increase.
The government suggests that anyone in a high risk group should avoid contact with live pigs. That group includes children under the age of 5, people 65 and over, those with chronic health conditions, those with reduced or compromised immune systems, and pregnant women. Those are the people who are at high risk for developing serious complications if they contract the flu.
To prevent the spread of the flu, wash your hands frequently with warm water and lots of soap for at least 20 seconds, avoid contact with animals who look or act ill, and do not eat or drink in areas where animals live or are kept. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches.