Nevada Prepares for Swine Flu Outbreak - 8 News NOW

Nevada Prepares for Swine Flu Outbreak

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Nevada officials have outlined aggressive efforts to deal with swine flu in the event the contagious virus, which has been detected in several other states, shows up in Nevada.

While there have been no confirmed cases of swine flu in Nevada, outbreaks elsewhere "have got our attention," Gov. Jim Gibbons said, adding that this state has a response plan that's based on "standard operating procedures."

Nevada State Health Information on Swine Flu

Mike Willden, the state's health and human services chief, added that Nevada has access to hundreds of thousands of stockpiled doses of medicine for treating people should an outbreak occur. More than three-quarters of those doses would be for people in the Las Vegas area, Nevada's population center, he added.

Special Section on Swine Flu

Willden also said samples from four Nevadans with flu-like symptoms were tested over the weekend and the lab tests came back negative. He also said state officials are staying in daily contact with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC Information on the Swine Flu

"We're not seeing anything that we're worried about," Willden said, adding that the planning efforts are "what we do in the public preparedness world. We plan for the worst, we get ready to treat, and we try to prevent disease spread, and that's what we're doing today."

State Health Officer Mary Guinan said people who get swine flu "feel like they've been hit by a bus." Dr. Guinan added that there have been no increase in any kind of flu in Nevada. Guinan also said Nevada's influenza season is nearly over but hasn't officially ended. As a result, she said a flu monitoring system, which includes more than 60 surveillance sites around the state, is still in place.

Symptoms of the swine flu are similar to other flu bugs. It is highly contagious and fever and coughing are the two most common symptoms but they can also include headache, chills, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue as well as throat irritation. The swine flu does appear to respond to flu treatments like Tamiflu.

Nevada gets heavy tourist traffic from around the world, but Rick Eaton, state homeland security director, said there are no travel restrictions at this time. Janet Napolitano, head of the federal Homeland Security Department, has said travel warnings for trips to Mexico would remain as long as swine flu is detected.

Before the CDC changed its advice to travelers, U.S. airlines were reporting that some passengers have already changed or canceled their plans to fly to Mexico. Several airlines are allowing passengers to change their flights plans without any fee or penalty.

The confirmed cases elsewhere in the U.S. include 28 cases in New York City, seven in California, two apiece in Kansas and Texas and one case in Ohio. All have been mild cases and the victims have recovered.

The outbreak began in Mexico, where more than 1,600 cases have been reported and where the suspected death toll has climbed to 149.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

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