Swine Flu: Pandemic Alert Goes Up a Notch

The World Health Organization raised its alert level for the swine flu to the next to highest notch, signaling a global pandemic could be imminent. The level went from 4 to 5 today. This move followed a spread to at least 10 states in the U.S. and further spread in Europe. 14 cases have been reported in California. In the Eastern Sierra, tests have revealed no confirmed cases of the flu here. Health officials have asked medical and school officials to help look for swine flu incidents.

Health Officer Dr. Rick Johnson has talked with Inyo-Mono school officials about watchfulness for the new flu and about the future potential of school closures if the flu escalates. There are no such plans at this time.

Dr. Johnson has talked to authorities at clinics and emergency rooms at our hospitals to function as the eyes and ears of the health departments.

Total American cases rose to around 100 over 10 states. The new virus may be mis-named since no cases have come from pigs. The flu spreads human to human. The medical mantra for now – if you’re sick, stay home and wash your hands frequently to remain clean from the virus that may exist in our communities.

We want to underscore that no cases have been identified in Mono or Inyo counties. Testing of those who have the flu continues in both counties. Dr. Johnson said that both Mono and Inyo County Health Departments are “actively monitoring the situation. Leadership and staff are taking actions,” he said, “to increase surveillance activities, are doing possible case investigations, are keeping the public and health professionals informed and are distributing educational materials reinforcing respiratory hygiene to schools and community partners.”

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