UPDATED: The recent swine flu outbreak
Washington, Apr 28, 2009 -
As you may know, earlier this year, cases of humans infected with swine flu were first reported in Southern California, New York City, and near San Antonio, Texas. Other U.S. states have reported cases of swine flu in humans. Cases have been reported internationally as well. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is working with state and local agencies to investigate the outbreak. An updated count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at the website for the CDC.
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu. They include:
- sore throat
- body aches
Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness and deaths have been reported with swine flu in humans, however, as of this writing there have been no reported deaths in the United States. As with human flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are particularly worried about your condition, you should contact your health care provider, who will determine whether flu testing or treatment is needed. If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible so that you do not spread your disease to them.
Because of bird flu concerns over the past few years, reports have indicated that the CDC is prepared for a widespread outbreak of influenza. A 2007 national strategy to prevent and combat pandemic influenza can be found at this website: http://www.pandemicflu.gov.
According to the CDC, “Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen.”
It is important that all of us stay well-informed about this swine flu outbreak; it is equally important that we do not panic or overreact to it. As your Member of Congress, and as a member of our community, I am particularly concerned about this situation and will be monitoring it very closely.
UPDATE: News reports have confirmed that there has been at least one death in the United States associated with swine flu. According to the Washington Post,
A 23-month-old child from Mexico has died in Texas from complications of the swine flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this morning, marking the first confirmed fatality inside the U.S. from the ominous new virus that is rapidly spreading around the globe.
This is, of course, very sad news, and I am praying that no one else will die from this disease.