The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 27, 2009

Nurse offers tips on virus

Although a public health emergency has been declared in the United States, no cases of swine flu had been confirmed in West Virginia Monday, local health care workers said.

Nancy Ward, infection control nurse at Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, advised West Virginians to stay calm and offered a list of practical ways local people can help stop the spread of the virus.

“There’s no reason to panic. But there is reason to be alert.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared the health emergency Sunday to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to respond to the threat of a swine flu pandemic in the United States, according to the CDC Web site.

The CDC will be focused on reducing the transmission and severity of the illness and will provide information for health care providers, officials and the public.

Dr. Richard Besser, acting head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that Americans should be prepared for the problem to become more severe, and that it could involve "possibly deaths," according to Bloomberg News.

The virus is believed to have originated in Mexico, where 149 deaths had been attributed to swine flu Monday.

The only case outside of North America was reported in Spain Monday, and the European Union health commissioner urged Europeans to delay nonessential travel to Mexico and parts of the United States affected by swine flu.

The virus is transmitted from person to person and can be deadly, both of which could lead to a flu pandemic.

Forty cases of swine flu had been confirmed in the United States Monday, in California (7 cases), New York City (28), Ohio (1), Texas (2) and Kansas (2).

None of those cases had resulted in death, according to the CDC Web site.

“In the U.S., most of these have been very mild, benign cases,” said Ward. “They respond very well to our anti-viral drugs that (are prescribed) when people get sick with the flu.”

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