UPDATE: Now 10 Cases Of Probable Swine Flu In King Co.

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UPDATE 4/30 4pm: King County’s Public Health Department announced Thursday at 3:30pm that there are now 10 “probable” cases of swine flu in King County, out of 13 in the entire state.

Still no known cases in the Burien area, and none have yet been confirmed by the CDC.

The 10 probable cases of swine flu in King County include:

  • A male child of Seattle who was hospitalized and is improving
  • A male in his 20s from Seattle, not hospitalized and improving
  • A woman in her 30s from Seattle, not hospitalized and improving
  • 7 additional probable cases in King County as of 4/30/09, 3:30pm (Public Health is still investigating and has not yet announced the locations or status)

Also, because one of the victims was a student at Seattle’s Madrona School, both Public Health and Seattle Public Schools decided to close the school for seven days, starting today, to reduce the ability of the infection to spread. The school is scheduled to re-open on May 7.

As for the Highline School District, there are no known cases or planned closures yet, and here’s the latest statement from their website (which concerned parents should check often as this news is developing quickly):

The first suspected cases of swine flu have been detected in Washington State, and Highline Public Schools is monitoring the illness and is working closely with Public Health-Seattle and King County and the national Centers for Disease Control as a precaution.

If more cases are reported in our area, Public Health will advise the district on closing schools.


Just after 9pm Wednesday evening (4/29), King County Public Health Department announced that three probable cases of swine flu (H1N1) have been identified in the county.

All three were reported to be in Seattle, with none reported as being in the Burien area.

Laboratory samples have been sent to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Public Health – Seattle & King County is awaiting final confirmation.

Also today, the World Health Organization raised its pandemic swine flu alert level to Phase 5 – its second-highest level, and one that includes the language “a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent.”

The CDC has determined that the swine flu virus H1N1 is contagious and is spreading from human to human.

Symptoms of swine flu include:

  • A fever of more than 100°F
  • Coughing
  • Joint aches
  • Severe headache
  • And, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea

“Now that swine flu is likely in King County, we expect to see more infections, but it’s too early to say how severe the illnesses will be. We are working to provide needed information and assistance to these people and their families. We are also working with health care providers and community partners to prepare in the event that the situation becomes more serious,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

“We’ve prepared for this day for the past four years, and now we must all do our part to reduce its spread,” said Ron Sims, King County Executive. “We encourage everyone to get prepared at home, find out about plans at your job, and take steps to protect yourself, your family and the community by staying home when you are sick, washing your hands often and covering your coughs and sneezes.”

“In the last few years, Seattle has prepared for pandemic flu. We will activate our Emergency Operations Center at the first level so our emergency operations personnel can coordinate procedures and communications,” said Greg Nickels, Seattle Mayor.

As of April 29, there are three probable cases of swine flu in King County, in addition to two cases in Snohomish County and one case in Spokane County.

The three King County residents with probable swine flu include:

  • A male child of Seattle who was hospitalized and is improving
  • A male in his 20s from Seattle, not hospitalized and improving
  • A woman in her 30s from Seattle, not hospitalized and improving

Officials did not release any other information, such as whether the victims had traveled to Mexico recently.

When should you seek medical care?

Use the same judgment you would use during a typical flu season. Do not seek medical care if you are not ill or have mild symptoms for which you would not ordinarily seek medical care. If you have more severe symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or are feeling more seriously ill, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and if you need to be evaluated.

Public Health will continue to work with health care providers to test flu patients who develop severe illness or are associated with clusters, but does not currently recommend testing for all flu patients.

If the following flu-like symptoms are mild, medical attention is not typically required: runny nose or nasal stuffiness; low-grade fever for less than 3 days; mild headache; body aches and mild stomach upset.

What can I do now to get prepared?

This is an excellent time to get prepared at home and work for a possible influenza pandemic. See www.kingcounty.gov/health/pandemicflu

Everyday behaviors to stay healthy

  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • To further prevent the spread of germs, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people

What is swine flu?

“Swine flu” is an influenza A (H1N1) virus normally found in pigs. There are many such viruses and they rarely infect humans. The virus currently causing human illness is a new type of swine flu that has developed the ability to infect people and be transmitted from person to person.

Although this new virus is called “swine flu,” it is not transmitted from pigs to humans, or from eating pork products. Like other respiratory diseases, it is spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. When people cough or sneeze, they spread germs through the air or onto surfaces that other people may touch.

Rest assured The B-Town Blog will be following this story closely, and we urge all readers to be vigilant in following the directions listed above, as well as seeking immediate help if you suffer from any associated symptoms.

For more information and frequent updates: www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu, or call the Public Health Hotline: 206-296-4949.

Here’s a link to a PDF called “Pandemic Flu Planning Guide” which is probably now worth a read.

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