Spokane, other universities, report cases of flu

Washington State Department of Health announced Wednesday evening that six “probable cases of swine flu” have been identified in the state — three in King County, two in Snohomish County and one in Spokane County.
Having testing multiple flu samples since Monday, the DOH is now sending “six samples it could not positively subtype to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further testing.”
U.S. Human Cases of Swine Flu
(CDC, April 30, 2009, 10:30 AM ET)
# of laboratory confirmed cases
Arizona 1  
California 14  
Indiana 1  
Kansas 2  
Massachusetts 2  
Michigan 1  
Nevada 1  
New York 50  
Ohio 1  
South Carolina
109 cases

1 death
International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection

World Health Organization

External Web Site Policy.

Currently the CDC is the only public health lab in the country that can positively identify this virus.

Dr. Bruce Wright, director of WSU’s Health and Wellness Services, said that given the identification of probable cases in the region, “WSU has moved from a level 1 to a level 2 in its pandemic response plan, with heightened surveillance for cases in the area. 
“We are continuing to monitor the situation closely. WSU pandemic planning team will meet again today at 1 p.m. to discuss whether changes in response need to be made.
“WSU Health & Wellness Services has implemented infectious control procedures for people who are exhibiting potential symptoms,” Write said. “However, we have not seen any cases so far, and we’re not aware of any in the community.” (See WSU Health & Wellness Services Swine Flu Advisory.)
All the health agencies, hospitals and clinics in the area are on increased alert and are implementing their pandemic planning measures. 
“At this point there is no cause for alarm or panic,” Wright said. Faculty and staff are encouraged to consistently apply common preventative measures, including:
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover any cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve
  • Stay away from people presenting symptoms
  • If you do have symptoms, contact health care provider but don’t come to work or class

(Download and print posters for your department from the CDC on “Healthy Habits,” “Germ Stopper,” “Cover Your Cough”)

“People need to understand that the overwhelming majority of cases in the U.S. have been mild, they have not been severe or associated with death,” Wright said.

Swine flu hits several campuses

April 30, 2009  Inside Higher Ed
Ten students at the University of Delaware have been diagnosed with “probable” cases of swine flu, to date the most significant outbreak on a college campus in the United States. At least three other campuses may also have cases: the University of Notre Dame has a confirmed case of a student who had swine flu and who has recovered. San Diego State University has a suspected case and California State University at Long Beach has a probable case. See the full article at
Inside Higher Ed


“Health experts in our state are monitoring the situation and have a well-practiced plan in place,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “I encourage all Washingtonians to follow the precautionary guidance of health officials and stay informed of the situation through county and state health resources.”

Public health agencies have been looking for cases in Washington to confirm whether or not the virus is in our state. It’s important for people who are sick with flu-like symptoms to stay home or go to a health care provider if they become seriously ill. Symptoms of swine flu include fever, muscle aches, cough, and sometimes trouble breathing.

“Tracking and responding to diseases is what public health agencies do best,” said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “We need the people of our state to help prevent the spread of germs by covering their coughs and staying home if they’re sick. We’ll get through this together.”

Since requesting all positive type A flu samples from clinical labs in the state, about 70 have been shipped to the Shoreline laboratory for further testing. Lab workers continue to test samples as they arrive. The CDC plans to send testing materials, known as “reagents” to the state laboratory in the next several days. These materials will allow workers to test for the new swine flu strain.

Almost 100 cases of this new flu strain have been confirmed in 10 U.S. states —Texas,
California, Ohio, New York, Kansas, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts, and
Indiana. One death has been reported in Texas. Cases have also been reported in
several countries.
Swine influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus. This new strain is being spread by person-to-person contact. There’s no risk from eating properly cooked pork or pork products.
There’s currently no vaccine to prevent swine flu, but antiviral medications can treat it. These
are generally used to prevent serious flu complications and work best if started soon
after getting sick. Health care providers determine whether or not a person with
influenza needs to take antivirals.
Within the next several days, the state expects to get a supply of antiviral medication from the
federal government as a precaution. The medication will be enough to treat about
230,000 people, if needed. The stockpile also includes gloves and other medical supplies.
Information on swine flu — translated in several languages — is on the DOH website. There’s also information on how to prevent the spread of germs.
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