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Lots of Questions & Concerns About Swine Flu

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

With our office phones ringing today about swine flu it seemed appropriate to devote another day to the current information on swine flu. To date as I write this, there have been 40 confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S. There are more cases that are presumed to be swine flu being reported, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must do further testing to confirm that the isolates are indeed swine flu. We in fact had a positive test for Influenza A in our office today, but like everyone else will need to await confirmation that this too is the swine flu virus. The most interesting thing is that this patient was not terribly ill at all. In fact, had we not been put on alert to be looking for patients with flu like symptoms: fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, and body aches, I would have thought that this child had a late spring viral infection and sent them home with instructions to push fluids, treat the fever, and stay home from school until she had been fever free for 24 hours. The only difference in her treatment was knowing that she was influenza A positive, we started her and all household family members on Tamiflu. We should know the results of her further testing in seven to 10 days.

At the same time we saw several children who attended a school where there had been a confirmed case of swine flu. Parents were concerned that their children were exposed and were now sick. One of the patients I saw had strep throat, and another was flu negative. Not everyone who attends a school or event with someone with swine flu will become ill. In the case of the school there was another confirmed case today so they will close the school tomorrow and decide how to progress from there. The virus seems to be passed via person-to-person contact, and has been a hardy traveler as we are seeing it in New York, Kansas, California, Ohio and Texas. The isolates in the U.S. have matched the swine fly viral samples from Mexico, so it thought that these are the same viruses. The CDC and World Health Organization still do not understand why the patients in Mexico are sicker, with some people dying, as compared to the severity of illness here.

At this point, the message to help prevent the spread of swine flu is the same. Do not send your child to school or after school activities if they are sick. If they have a fever and flu like symptoms, call your doctor about being tested. Keep up to date with information as it is announced. Watch for updates here, or at We all can only wait to see what develops, and your everyday lives should continue. Just keep up that hand washing, and teach your children to cover their mouths when they cough, both of which continue to be the best way to prevent illness.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

More Information: Dr. Sue’s Daily Dose: The Facts About Swine Flu

More Information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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