Swine Flu District of Columbia
Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Government announced today that they are closely monitoring the new strain of swine flu that has been reported in the United States and Mexico. As of Sunday evening time there are no known cases of swine flu in District of Columbia, Virginia or Maryland. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are currently 20 confirmed cases of this new flu strain in the United States. The CDC expects the number of cases in the United States to increase. The District of Columbia Department of Health is responding proactively and aggressively to combat the spread of the disease.
"While the District does not have any known cases of swine flu right now, we recognize that diseases do not respect state or national boundaries and are monitoring the situation closely," said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. "We continue to work with our neighboring jurisdictions and will respond as fast as humanly possible to address any potential or confirmed cases of swine flu."
Symptoms of influenza include runny nose or nasal congestion, cough, sore throat and a fever higher than 100 degrees. The incubation period from time of exposure to illness is 2 to 5 days.
"It is important for everyone to remember that the best way to prevent the spread of any flu virus is to make sure that you cover your cough and wash your hands with soap and water frequently," said Dr. Pierre Vigilance, director of the DC Department of Health. "If residents have symptoms of the flu they should call their healthcare providers first before going into the doctor’s office or emergency room so they do not put others at risk."
There are certain actions every resident can take to help stop the spread of swine flu, measles, and other contagious diseases. By following these simple guidelines everyone can do their part to combat swine flu:
* Frequent hand washing with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease.
* Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose.
* Influenza is spread from person to person by sneezes and coughs. Covering sneezes and coughs with your sleeve or a tissue stops the spread.
* Avoid contact with those who are already ill.
* Individuals who are ill should avoid crowded public places as much as possible and keep a 6 foot distance between people at work and other public places.
* Anyone with a fever and respiratory illness should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections, including influenza and other respiratory illnesses, to others in their communities.
There are medications which may help lessen the severity of flu illness if you become infected. These medications do not cure the flu, and they must be administered within 24 to 48 hours to be effective. If you feel that you have the symptoms of swine flu, you should contact your health care provider for information and advice on whether anti-viral medication is right for you.
If ill, residents should call their healthcare provider first before coming to the provider's office and before going to an urgent care clinic or emergency department. This will help stop the spread of the disease. Healthcare providers can advise residents on treatment and make recommendations about whether residents should come in to be seen.
Additional information about swine influenza and the outbreak are available at the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/index.htm. This link and other information about swine flu can be found on the DOH website at http://doh.dc.gov.