To date, there have been no reported cases of swine flu in Missouri. Locally, the Howard County Health Department has increased its disease surveillance and remains in constant contact with state health department officials.
On Monday, the Howard County Commissioners held an informal meeting with emergency respondents (police, firefighters, 9-1-1 director and others) and Sheila Wallace, public health department administrator. The purpose of the meeting was to share information.
Additionally, the health department has notified healthcare providers in the medical community in Howard County regarding guidelines for the identification and treatment of swine flu.
At this time, the health department advises citizens to be aware of the symptoms of swine flu and contact their primary care physician if they become ill with these symptoms.
Also, it is important to follow the following personal protective measures:
' Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with hot, soapy water. If water is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
' Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
' Stay home if you are sick.
' Avoid contact with infected persons.
Symptoms of the swine flu are similar to that of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
The virus is suspected in up to 103 deaths and 1,600 more cases in the country of Mexico while 40 cases were confirmed in the United States and six in Canada as of Monday afternoon according to a report from the Associated Press.
For more information on swine flu, go to www.cdc.gov/swineflu/.