April 29, 2009
Local girl county's first 'probable' swine flu case
CORTLAND — The county Health Department announced Wednesday that a girl who lives in Cortland County and attends Fabius-Pompey High School in Onondaga County is the first “probable” local case of swine flu.
The case and health risks were outlined during a news conference Wednesday afternoon in the County Office Building auditorium, conducted by county Health Department Director Catherine Feuerherm and Stuart Gillim, medical advisor for the department.
The state Department of Health called the county Health Department with the test results Wednesday morning and local officials are awaiting confirmation from the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which could label it a confirmed case of swine flu.
A man who lives in Cortland County but works in Madison County was also suspected to be infected with swine flu, but the state informed the county that the test came back negative. The case of another suspected case was also being investigated Wednesday afternoon.
New York health officials say say the Cortland County case is among the first three probable cases of swine flu found outside of New York City. Others were in Orange and Suffolk counties.
The CDC says 51 cases have been confirmed in New York, most at a Catholic high school in New York City.
Gillim said people younger than age 4, older than age 75, those with cardiac and respiratory problems and pregnant women are most susceptible to the stain of the flu.
But he said health officials around the world are most concerned about "what it might be" if it mutates further and is resistant to vaccines.
Feuerherm said the local 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 high school student and the local man who works in Madison County recently traveled to Mexico and have experienced flu-like symptoms, but Feuerherm declined to say whether these two people knew each other or had close contact with each other.
The third local person suspected to be infected with the swine flu recently traveled to California, Feuerherm said.
The first two suspected local cases were tested in a laboratory in Wadsworth Center, a state Department of Health facility in Albany.
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. Feurherm urged people not to go to hospital emergency rooms for minor symptoms.
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of the 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 it poses 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.
For complete coverage see Thursday's Cortland Standard.
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