Health advisory update on swine flu
WHO has raised the pandemic alert level to Phase 5 - characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries. The declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent.
DHEC reports 16 confirmed cases in South Carolina, all related to a school in Newberry, SC and a recent trip to Mexico.
CDC reports 403 confirmed cases in the United States. School closings are recommended if there are confirmed cases in the school; travel health advisories remain in effect for travel to Mexico; wearing masks (N95) is recommended if in direct contact with confirmed cases; antiviral medications being sent to all states; college students living in residence halls should adhere to good health habits (see below) and if sick should visit campus health clinic; voluntary isolation for 7 days is recommended if sick; voluntary quarantines are recommended if exposed to sick individual(s); the virus is not transmitted through food.
Cases are considered "probable" AFTER the following criteria have been met, 1) positive influenza screening by your health care provider, 2) positive influenza A sub typing testing by DHEC, 3) further sub typing by CDC. Cases remain probable until confirmed by viral culture.
Good Health Habits for Prevention:
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
* Frequent hand washing with soap and water (wash hands for at least 15 seconds).
* Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean hands, if soap and water are not available.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* If sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.