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WSCHS' Response to the Swine Flu Outbreak (Apr. 28th, 2009)
WSCHS is concerned about the recent number of human cases of swine influenza that have been identified in the United States.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a formal declaration of a Public Health Emergency yesterday, a tool to facilitate a mobilization strategy in response to the virus and to help HHS prepare for prevention and mitigation activities. View their press release online at www.hhs.gov.
As we await further information from the CDC regarding ongoing investigations to determine the source of the infection and whether others have been infected, we continue to keep patient and staff safety a high priority. All clinic sites will continue to adhere to our policies regarding infection control precautions for influenza. Full barrier precautions will be used at all clinics for any suspected swine influenza patients. These include using airborne and contact precautions, eye protection, along with standard precautions. Providers will take a travel history on all patients presenting with an acute febrile respiratory illness and will test suspected cases for the swine flu. Any suspected and confirmed cases of swine flu will be reported immediately to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Please refer to the CDC’s website (www.cdc.gov) for more information on the virus and the ongoing investigation. From their website, here is a list of everyday actions that everyone should follow to stay healthy:
- 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. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
- If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
We are also handing out flyers to patients that cover frequently asked questions and responses from the CDC. Those FAQs can be found online by clicking here..