Swine Influenza Investigation in Texas
(Tarrant County, Texas) … Public health officials within the United States and throughout the world are investigating outbreaks of swine influenza (swine flu). Confirmed human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in California, Kansas, Ohio, New York and Guadalupe County, Texas.
This strain of influenza is unique because of its combination of swine, avian and human influenza viruses. It has been determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it has not been determined how easily the virus spreads between people.
Tarrant County Public Health remains watchful and along with regional, state and national partners is involved in enhanced regional surveillance activities. Additionally, information is being provided to local medical community partners and schools.
As with any infectious disease, Tarrant County Public Health along with its regional, state and national partners recommends people take these measures:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
The symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care provider. Your health care provider may prescribe antiviral medication and other treatment. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing is needed. There is no vaccine available at this time.
The CDC has not recommended that people avoid travel to Mexico or other affected areas at this time. If or when you travel, you can reduce your personal risk of infection by following these CDC recommendations to help you stay healthy:
- Monitor the situation where you intend to travel by reviewing informational Web sites, such as the CDC’s (www.cdc.gov/travel).
- Make specific preparations for your trip:
- Pack a travel health/first aid kit;
- Identify health care resources in the area you intend to travel;
- Check your health insurance plan to determine your coverage while traveling;
- See your doctor or a travel medicine specialist to update your vaccination status, get specific recommendations for possible antiviral medication should you need them, or to answer specific questions regarding where you plan to travel.
- And while traveling:
- Pay attention to announcements from the local government or public health officials;
- Practice healthy habits to help stop the spread of germs;
- Seek medical care if you are sick and avoid further travel until you are free of symptoms.
Also be sure to monitor your health for 7-10 days after your return and seek medical care if you become sick. Make sure to tell your doctor about your symptoms as well as your recent travel history.
Additional Information regarding swine influenza is available at: www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/index.htm.