Hunt County – As the number of reported swine flu cases continues to rise, local officials are doing their part to prepare and warn citizens.
During a meeting Monday in Commerce, officials from local school districts, Commerce emergency management, Greenville emergency management and Hunt Regional Healthcare met to form a comprehensive plan to combat the possible spread of swine flu in the county.
When speaking to KETR early Monday evening, Hunt County Emergency Management Coordinator Richard Hill indicated there had not been any reported cases of the flu virus in the county.
"At this time, we have no confirmed nor even probable, nor suspected cases anywhere in Hunt County, or any county that borders Hunt County," says Hill.
Those experiencing or who begin to experience flu-like symptoms are to get checked immediately. Officials note the best chance of treating the flu is within the first 48 hours. Prevention is similar to most contagious illnesses: Wash hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough, and stay clear of those you feel may be infected.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert level in response to the outbreak that reportedly originated in Mexico. Mexico has 149 deaths that may have resulted from swine flu; however the number of confirmed cases worldwide at last report was less than 100.
Most cases have been in the United States, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 50 cases, including three more cases confirmed in Dallas County Monday. Canyon Creek Elementary School in Richardson has been cancelled until at least the end of the week because of the case of a 7-year-old student there.
The following is a press release issued by the City of Commerce regarding its meeting on Monday, April 27:
The City of Commerce Emergency Management Team has spent the majority of the day meeting with officials from Hunt County Emergency Management, The City of Greenville, Hunt County Health Department, Greenville and Commerce Independent School Districts, Hunt Memorial Hospital District, Texas A&M University-Commerce and local medical professionals in reference to the Swine Flu epidemic. Officials are reporting that as of now, there are no known reports in Hunt County or in our surrounding area. However, officials are taking precautions in the event reports begin to occur.
Symptoms of the Swine Flu are similar to those of regular or seasonal flu and include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing. Some with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Emergency Management and Health Officials say everyone should follow standard precautions to reduce the spread of any respiratory illness. Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others; cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues; wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
In the event that you or someone in your family should have any of the above symptoms it is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention. Medical personnel have been briefed through the Texas Department of State Health Services on testing methods for this illness and are prepared to treat any cases as they may arise. In addition, to seeking medical attention, it is highly recommended that you stay at home. The swine flu is contagious and is spreading from human to human, however, at this time, it is not know how easily the virus spreads between people, but it is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads.
Officials are reporting that further information can be obtained by calling the Texas Department of State Health Services at 888-777-5320 or by going to the Center of Disease Control web-site at www.cdc.gov/swineflu.