• WEATHER ALERT Severe Thunderstorm Warning

Pa. confirms first swine flu case

May 3, 2009 8:20:22 PM PDT
Health officials confirmed Pennsylvania's first case of swine flu Sunday in a 31-year-old male in Montgomery County. The resident is a 31-year-old male from Upper Merion (originally reported to be a resident of Bridgeport) who was tested after feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. A sample taken was determined to be Type-A Influenza and was sent to the Centers for Disease Control for analysis.

There are 7 probable cases in the state. The cases include:
25 year old male in Philadelphia county
46 year old male in Philadelphia county
28 year old male in Montgomery county
39 year old female in Philadelphia
20 year old female from Bucks county
individual from Lycoming county
individual from Luzerne county
TOTAL of ALL cases = 8 (7 probable; 1 confirm)

"Now that Pennsylvania has a confirmed case, it is even more important for the public to understand and follow the commonsense steps that can help prevent the spread of the flu," Governor Rendell said at a press conference in Norristown. "Our Department of Health is working closely with all state agencies and local health departments to mitigate the impact of this flu on our citizens and will continue to keep the public informed of any developments."

The Governor was joined by Secretary of Health Everette James and acting Physician General Dr. Stephen Ostroff at a news conference held at the Montgomery County Health Department in Norristown.

"We encourage Pennsylvanians to remain calm and take time to learn about the 2009 A/H1N1 virus, especially what you should do if you have symptoms," said Secretary James. "The commonwealth is taking every possible step to prepare for and prevent the spread of the virus, including readying and deploying the commonwealth's stockpile of anti-viral drugs that will be used for treating either probable or confirmed cases and those in close contact with those individuals. So far, most cases have been relatively mild and treatable with the anti-virals."

Pennsylvania Department of Health spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman says that there are six probable cases, all in Philadelphia or suburban Montgomery and Bucks counties.

Slippery Rock University in western Pennsylvania was to hold a separate graduation Saturday for 22 students who officials feared might have been exposed to the swine flu during a school trip to Mexico. The 22 students, all education majors, weren't sick but had been told to limit contact with others.

"To allow them to be exposed to 3,000 to 5,000 people would be an error on our part," university spokesman Karl Schwab said last week.

Federal health officials said earlier Sunday that there were 226 confirmed cases of swine flu in 30 states in the United States. On the Sunday talk shows, health officials were cautiously optimistic that the new swine flu isn't as dangerous as first feared. But they urged people to keep taking precautions.

Type A/H1N1 influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of such flu happen regularly in pigs. Before the current outbreak, people rarely got sick unless they were in very close proximity to infected pigs. However, during the current outbreak, the virus is able to spread from person-to-person.

Symptoms of A/H1N1 flu in people are similar to those of regular or seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some with this type of flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Although winter is over, there is still a low level of seasonal influenza occurring in Pennsylvania.

There is no vaccine available at this time. It is important for people to take the following steps to prevent spreading the virus to others:

-Stay home when you are sick to avoid infecting others;
-Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues;
-Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
-Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest and exercise; and
-Seek care if you have influenza-like illness.

For more information, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

RELATED INFORMATION:

FAQs about swine flu
Additional swine flu resources
Transcript of 6abc.com's swine flu chat with local experts

RELATED LINKS:

CDC Swine Flu site
World Health Organization

RELATED INTERACTIVE:

Swine flu cases around the world

Follow Action News on Twitter

Get Action News on your website

Follow Action News on Facebook

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.


Load Comments