officials closely monitoring situation
flu not in Ripley County
As news of the swine influenza A (H1N1)
virus spreads, state officials in Indiana say they are closely
monitoring human cases.
While there are no cases of the swine flu in Ripley County, and
no confirmed cases in Indiana as of press time, local officials
are working with others to be ready at a moments notice,
according to Pat Thomas, Ripley County Health Department Director.
Weve got a plan in place and are working with other
agencies, Thomas told the Osgood Journal on Monday.
She said the local group has been participating in exercises for
quite some time now, and feels they are ready to meet the challenge,
should it arise. Ripley County Emergency Management Agency Director
Wayne Peace is also working closely with Thomas and others.
Also referred to as the swine flu, this flu does not normally
infect humans, according to information from the Indiana State
Health Department (ISDH). It is a respiratory disease of pigs
caused by type A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks of
flu in pigs. However, recently, there have been sporadic human
infections, mostly in individuals who have direct exposure to
While state health officials say caution is key, they also note
that the swine flu is not transmitted by food. You cannot
get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products, according
to information in a recent press release. They also say cooking
pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees kills the swine
flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
Joe Wainscott, executive director of the Indiana Department of
Homeland Security (IDHS) noted, Its too early to be
classified as a pandemic. He went on to say, Each
of us can make a difference. Limiting contact with others can
help slow the spread of illness. Together we can protect ourselves,
our families, and our communities. In most instances of the flu,
those suffering can be cared for at home. Be aware, plan ahead,
and share with others what you have learned, he advised.
If you have milder symptoms of influenza, we advise you
to stay home and contact your health care provider for advice,
said State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe M.D.
Dr. Monroe noted that there is not a vaccine to prevent the swine
flu. She advised people 65-years of age and older with chronic
diseases and immune deficiencies are at higher risk for severe
Information from the ISDH and IDHS notes the symptoms of the swine
flu is expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human
seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and
coughing. Some people have reported a runny nose, sore throat,
nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
What can be done to prevent the spread of the flu? Basic precautionary
measures just as you would for a common cold, flu or any infectious
disease should be followed. That includes:
Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough
or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based
hand cleaners are also effective.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit
contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
While health officials do not know how easily the virus spreads,
they do know it is contagious and is spreading from human to human.
While reports are that the situation is serious in Mexico with
more than 1,000 sick and nearly 70 dead, US officials are saying
there is less than twenty cases reported here and no deaths as
of press time.
Indiana health officials are not taking any chances. They have
an active force and will work closely with local officials if
the need arises. The IDHS has already sent information to public
safety professionals to take necessary precautions to safeguard
their health as they interact with the public. This includes paramedics,
EMTs, police officers, firefighters, and emergency management
Thomas is working closely with other local and state agencies
to monitor the situation. She noted she will release further information
as it becomes available and advises people not to panic.
After a late conference Monday afternoon with officials, Thomas
noted that additional information includes not giving aspirin
to children suspected of having the flu. She also advised that
agencies are not testing anyone who hasnt been to Mexico
within the past seven days. She concluded by saying that there
have been no cases of the flu diagnosed in swine in Indiana as
of press time.