Medical officer: Still no Northwest swine flu reported

More cases of swine flu have been identified today in the United States, but the virus still has not been detected in the Northwest, said Jackson County's medical officer.

Dr. Jim Shames said the number of cases nationwide had risen to 64 by midday, with the vast majority (45) in New York City, including a number of children in one school who recently traveled to Mexico. There have been 10 cases identified in California; six in Texas; two in Kansas and one in Ohio, according to data on the Web site of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At a press conference this afternoon, Shames encouraged people to use the same precautions they would to avoid any other influenza virus: frequent hand washing, coughing into the arm to avoid spreading disease, and staying home if you fall ill with flu symptoms, which usually include rapid onset and some combination of muscular aches, headache, sore throat, dry cough, fever, chills, headache and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting with this strain of flu.

"Don't go out if you're sick," he said.

Shames said local public health officials are communicating with state health officers, who in turn talk to the CDC. Local health officials have been preparing for a widespread flu outbreak for the past few years, and will tell people what precautions to take when or if the virus becomes a local health problem.

— Bill Kettler

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