April 29, 2009
Probable case of swine flu in county
CORTLAND — The county Health Department announced a “probable” local case of swine flu early this afternoon, said Catherine Feuerherm, director of the Cortland County Health Department.
The state Department of Health provided the test results and is waiting for confirmation from the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The county Health Department is holding a 2 p.m. press conference today to discuss the test findings.
New York health officials say more testing is being done on the first three probable cases of swine flu found outside of New York City.
Health Commissioner Richard Daines says the cases in Suffolk, Orange and Cortland counties are believed caused by the same virus that has proved deadly in Mexico and is spreading illness worldwide. But that won’t be confirmed until federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tests are complete.
In the meantime, as many as 70 workers and residents at a long-term care facility in Orange County will be treated with the anti-viral agent Tamiflu because one of the suspected cases involves a health care worker there.
The CDC says 51 cases have been confirmed in New York, most at a Catholic high school in New York City.
Earlier this morning the department released additional information about two people who were suspected of infection.
The county Health Department is continuing to investigate a third case, unrelated to the first two, to determine if, based on circumstances and symptoms, it is worth testing for swine flu. Catherine Feuerherm, director of he Cortland County Health Department, said the suspected cases are people experiencing flu-like symptoms who have recently traveled to an affected area or have had close contact with someone who is ill and has traveled to an affected area.
The first two suspect cases are people who recently traveled to Mexico and have experienced flu-like symptoms. Feuerherm declined to say whether these two people knew each other or had close contact with each other.
The third person whose condition is being investigated recently traveled to California, Feuerherm said.
The first two suspected cases are being tested in a laboratory in Wadsworth Center, a state Department of Health facility in Albany. The third case has not been tested yet.
One of the two suspected cases being tested was a man who lives in Cortland County and works in southern Madison County, Eric Faisst, Madison County public health director, said Tuesday.
Feuerherm would not give any any more information about the suspected cases this morning.
The county Health Department this morning continued to stress the importance of people staying home if they have flu-like symptoms and to contact their physician if they feel they need medical attention.
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of common human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting from swine flu, according to the county Health Department.
Feuerherm said the swine flu is a greater concern than common flu because it has no vaccination and people do not have immunity to it.
She said it could pose a higher risk to people who have compromised immune systems, emphysema or other chronic illnesses, because health officials do not know how they will react to the virus.
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