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posted on April 30, 2009 11:18
The Idaho State Laboratory sent Idaho’s first probable case of swine flu to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday for confirmation. The patient is a KootenaiCounty woman in her 60s who recently traveled to Texas. So far, 38 other lab samples have tested negative.
With probable Idaho lab results, public health officials will work with the infected person and their healthcare provider for continued care, and implement strategies to reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to other people. If needed, immediate family members or close contacts also will be offered medications that can reduce the severity of possible illness and the probability of transmitting swine flu to other people.
“We are not surprised to find a probable case of swine flu in our state, and even though it is not confirmed, we want to exercise caution and keep people informed,” says Dr. Christine Hahn M.D., Idaho State Epidemiologist. “We will continue to aggressively monitor flu-like illnesses and may see additional cases. But this doesn’t change our message: wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, and stay at home when you are sick.”
District Health Departments continue to investigate new reports of possible swine flu infection throughout the state. People who have a recent travel history to areas affected by swine flu and who are suffering from flu symptoms such as fever, sore throat, muscle aches, and cough are asked to contact their healthcare provider. People who have no travel history should call their healthcare provider if their symptoms are severe enough that they would normally warrant a visit to their doctor. People who do not have any symptoms cannot be tested for swine flu.
Symptoms of the swine flu are similar to seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting. People cannot contract the infection from eating pork.
Idaho public health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to distribute medications and supplies that can treat over 50,000 sick people in Idaho. The supplies will be strategically distributed throughout the state and be a reserve for medications that are currently available in the private sector at pharmacies and hospitals. The state can order additional medications if necessary.
“Dr. Hahn and our team of state responders is tracking the situation and keeping in constant communication with local and federal authorities. The level of commitment to addressing the outbreak itself and the public’s concerns about it is impressive,” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said. “The information and resources are available. However, it remains up to individuals and families to take the necessary precautions and to protect themselves and our communities.”
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has developed a web site at that will contain information about reports of influenza illnesses. The web site will be updated daily at 2 p.m. with the most current lab results.
For people who may be traveling to affected areas, travel information and recommendations are available from the CDC at:
Important links for information: