First Swine Flu case confirmed in Ga.

Thu, 04/30/2009 - 2:55pm
By: John Munford

Hotline established for Swine Flu questions: 1-888-899-9788;

As health officals revealed today the first confirmed case of Swine Flu in Georgia, they are also urging people to avoid panic but use simple precautions such as frequent hand washing.

The confirmed Swine Flu case was in Troup County in a person who recently traveled to Mexico, district health officials said. Of 110 cases reported nationwide, only seven have led to patients being hospitalized, officials said.

The Swine Flu has been responsive to the drug Tamiflu, officials have reported. Anyone who becomes sick is urged to stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

"I want to stress that there is no need for panic, locally or otherwise, said Dr. Michael Brackett, District 4 Medical Coordinator. "We are further evaluating the situation and will continue to do so. The medical staff and hospital staff have done an excellent job at keeping the community safe."

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

People who don't feel well and have recently traveled to areas with high numbers of confirmed Swine Flu cases should contact their health care provider, district health officials said.

Fayette emergency officials have plans in place to handle large-scale issues even including a plan to dispense medications to local residents should there ever be a need.

Meanwhile, the state is announcing a special hotline for anyone with questions about Swine Flu. The number is 1-888-899-9788.

Although people who contract Swine Flu tend to have flu-like symptoms, it is a brand new strain of the flu, said Hayla Hall of Distict 4 Public Health services. As such, people have not been able to build up any immunities to Swine Flu, she said.

Also there is no vaccine for Swine Flu and there's not enough data yet on features of the flu, such as how easily it is transmitted, Hall said.

Fayette County Emergency Management Coordinator Pete Nelms said the county has conducted tabletop and real life drills to prepare for large-scale medical situations if ever necessary.

Dr. Michael Brackett, District 4 Medical Director, said the one confirmed case of Swine Flu is due to the state's "rapid and highly coordinated effort to protect Georgians from this novel virus."

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