Gov. Nixon announces prompt state response to first probable Missouri case of swine flu

Gov. Nixon announces prompt state response to first probable Missouri
case of swine flu

JEFFERSON CITY,
Mo. –
Gov. Jay Nixon today reported that the swine flu (H1N1) virus already
spreading in other states appears to have
reached Missouri.  The administration is responding by ensuring that anti-viral
medications are distributed to the affected site and that the case is properly
handled.

The first probable case
of swine flu in a Missouri resident was
discovered Wednesday afternoon during lab tests on specimens sent to the state
health lab as part of the state’s stepped-up efforts to defend against the new strain of
flu.  Department of Health and Senior Services Director
Margaret
Donnelly
, state
epidemiologist
Sarah Patrick, MPH,
Ph.D
and
emerging infections coordinator
Eddie Hedrick, BS, MT(ASCP) CIC joined Gov. Nixon to announce the
discovery of the probable case.

The Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) will test the sample to make a final confirmation that the Missouri case is the swine flu.  The time for
the CDC to complete these tests is currently averaging about two
days.

State officials
cautioned that a single case of swine flu was a concern but not a cause for
alarm.  Gov. Nixon said the state has a plan
to deal with flu outbreaks and local health agencies and state officials are
following that plan. 

“Since the first case
was reported in the U.S., we have prepared for the possibility that the disease
would reach Missouri,” Nixon said. “Now that
a probable case has been found here we are moving quickly to send anti-viral
medications to the community and taking all appropriate steps to treat the
problem and prevent its spread.”

Gov. Nixon remarked
that the state’s response plan includes aggressive outreach and notification of all local health
agencies, as well as communication between the state epidemiologist and the
Centers for Disease Control.  Gov. Nixon also reiterated that communication with
the public about influenza prevention and treatment would be a
critical component of the state’s response.

 “The most important thing we can do is make Missourians
aware of the state’s response, of the best practices for avoidance of swine
flu and facts about how the disease is treated.  We want everyone to know how to keep themselves healthy and that the
effects of a positive test will be controlled,” said Gov.
Nixon.

Missouri’s swine flu case
involves a resident of Platte County.  Because notification is pending, further
information about the patient cannot be
released at this time.

Health officials are
working to determine who might have been exposed before the patient showed
symptoms. Officials will be notifying anyone with whom there was close contact.

The patient will be asked to remain at home until seven days
after symptoms first appeared to ensure the patient is no longer contagious.
Typically, the patient’s family will also be given instructions in ways to avoid
spreading the illness to family, including proper hand
washing techniques and medical care, and family members will be monitored for
signs of illness.

People who have been in
close contact with the patient will be advised to go home at the earliest sign
of illness and to minimize contact in the community to the extent possible.