Swine Flu Still Present in SC
Though the temperature outside and humidity are rising and our traditional flu season doesn’t resume until the fall/winter, MUSC employees should still remain diligent in preventing the spread of the H1N1 type-A influenza strain; previously known as swine flu.
As of last week, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported the number of confirmed swine flu cases in the state has risen to 60. Two of these cases were treated at MUSC. State and local health officials are closely monitoring cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 13 thousand people nationwide have been diagnosed with swine flu, and 27 deaths have occurred as a result of infection. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) increased the level of alertness for swine flu to 6, its highest level. WHO is now calling H1N1 a global pandemic, because it has spread to enough countries for this designation.
This new strain of the type-A influenza first surfaced in Mexico in April and quickly spread to the United States and 72 other countries. This H1N1 strain has demonstrated rapid and sustained human-to-human infection.
Tips for prevention
- Patients presenting to clinics, and EDs with flu-like symptoms should be given a surgical mask to wear. Staff caring for the patient should practice contact and droplet precautions and wear N-95 masks.
- Maintain good personal hygiene, i.e. washing hands with warm soap and water for 20 seconds; use hand hygiene gel, and avoid touching your faces with their fingers or hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
- If exposed or sick, isolate or quarantine yourself and/or family members. Do not report to work.
- If you are potentially exposed to a patient with influenza, please report this to Employee Health Services.
- Limit travel.
Notify the Infection Prevention and Control staff on call immediately when patients with influenza like illness are admitted.
Symptoms are much like that of regular flu and include fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea. The incubation period of the infection is about two days, and a person can be infectious to others for at least seven days.
For more information contact Megan Fink, Public Relations, at 792-5172 or firstname.lastname@example.org.