Culver on Flu – Don’t be Alarmed

Fresh from Gov. Chet Culver’s office:

GOVERNOR CULVER: THIS IS A TIME FOR PREVENTION AND FOR CAUTION

Governor, State Health and Homeland Security Officials provide update on Swine Flu prevention efforts

DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver and Lt. Governor Patty Judge joined with state health and agriculture officials to provide an update on steps the state is taking to prevent an outbreak of swine flu.

“This is not a time for alarm; rather, this is a time for prevention, and for caution,” said Governor Culver. “I want to be very clear: there are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Iowa. On the state level, we continue to monitor the situation, and take every step to prevent an outbreak from occurring within our borders. Even though there are no confirmed cases in Iowa, we take this very seriously, and we will continue to do so, until the issue is resolved.”

In recent days, the threat of a swine flu outbreak has grown. The outbreak began in Mexico, where more than 1400 cases have been confirmed, and 84 people have died from the disease. In the United States, 40 confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in five states – California, Kansas, New York, Ohio, and Texas. No cases have been reported in Iowa.

Lt. Governor Patty Judge discussed what preparation efforts are being taken on the state level.

“I have been in regular contact with US Homeland Security Officials, and the Department of Public Health has been in contact with their counterparts at the CDC,” said the Lt. Governor. “In addition, the state’s Homeland Security Executive Group continue to meet and discuss this situation. Iowans should rest assured knowing that we are ready and prepared should an outbreak occur.”

State Government has taken the following steps to meet the growing national Swine Flu threat:

• Ordered increased statewide surveillance for people with flu-like symptoms
• In a pro-active manner, the US Department of Health and Human Services has released 25% of the federal anti-viral medication stockpile, which is in addition to the current state stockpile.
• Enhanced veterinary activities, planning for various levels of animal disease surveillance and outreach.

Tom Newton, Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, and Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, State Epidemiologist, reminded Iowans to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of illness.

• When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (if you do not have a tissue). Throw used tissues in a trash can.
• After you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
• If you are ill with a respiratory illness (coughing and sneezing), stay home from work or school so you don’t make others sick.
• Avoid close contact with others who are coughing or appear to be ill.
• Symptoms of swine influenza include fever (greater than 100 F), along with cough, sore throat, headache and body aches, and extreme tiredness. Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider.

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