While the Swine flu outbreak is dominating national and international news, the Washington State Department of Health has confirmed there have been no recorded cases in this state.
A spokesman for the department said this week that they were starting to get samples from its increased monitoring of hospitals, clinics and doctors. Some of those samples would be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The department is working closely with local health agencies around the state to monitor cases of pneumonia and influenza to see if they’re due to this new infection.
At the time of going to press on Wednesday evening, there had been no confirmed cases in the Northwest.
Three people in Idaho were tested earlier in the week, but were found to be clear of the disease, the outbreak of which appears to have originated in Mexico.
What is Swine flu?
Swine influenza is a respiratory disease caused by type a influenza virus.
Humans typically contract this disease from direct exposure of an infected pig.
An infected human may also infect another human.
Species specific influenza virus are able to infect to infect other species (human can contract avian flu; pigs can contract avian flu etc.)
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to seasonal human influenza: fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and coughing.
Other symptoms of swine flu include: runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Swine influenzas are not spread by food as so eating properly cooked pork poses no risk.
Swine flu is thought to be spread the same way in which seasonal flu viruses are spread: from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people infected with influenza.
Sometimes people may contract influenza by touching something with the virus on it and subsequently touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
To prevent infection one should wash their hands and try and stay in good health.
Drink an adequate amount of liquids, eat nutritious foods, and maintain physical activity.
Avoid contact with those presenting symptoms of influenza.
The Department of Health has not seen an increase in the number of flu cases in Washington.
For more information go to the department’s swine flu page.