Health department prepares for swine flu outbreak

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By The Staff

Cases of swine flu have not been reported in Anderson County or Kentucky, but the Anderson County Health Department is still keeping an eye on the situation.

“Our office is participating in conference calls with the Department for Public Health on a daily basis and we are preparing for a community-wide response should that become necessary,” said Public Health Director Brandon Hurley.

“We have been updating both city and county leaders about this situation, and (our staff has) been collaborating with various agencies to ensure we are prepared if this situation develops further.”

Swine flu affects mostly pigs, but was found in humans in the United States in March. It spreads human to human, but it is not yet known how easily, according to the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches, and vomiting or diarrhea.

Hurley said the department is asking individuals who have traveled recently to Mexico or affected areas, or who are planning such travel, to be alert in the following ways:

*Monitor yourself and travel companions for symptoms listed above.

*If symptoms of an influenza-like illness develop within seven days of travel, seek evaluation by a health care provider as soon as possible.

*Be sure to tell your health care provider about your recent travel and suggest testing for influenza.

*Stay home from work, school and other public places until you are feeling well.

Individuals can take “common sense precautions” to prevent illness, Hurley said.

Those precautions include avoiding close contact with those who are ill, staying home when sick, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and frequent hand washing.

While preparation is key, Hurley said he doesn’t see any need for alarm.

“At this point, I don’t believe we have reason for panic,” he said. “Our agency along with others are closely monitoring this situation and taking every necessary precaution regarding this issue.”

More information is available at www.achdonline.org.