Caution Still Advised with Swine Flu

Although many of the initial fears about the swine flu are gone, health care officials say the virus itself should not be forgotten.

With more than 13,000 confirmed and probable cases of the swine flu reported in the U.S. and its territories, and at least 27 deaths from it nationwide so far, health care officials say the Novel H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, should not be taken lightly.

As of Tuesday morning, 58 cases of the virus had been reported in Mississippi and at least 92 in Alabama. Two cases are in Lauderdale County and one in west Alabama.

Health care officials say they were not related and involved individuals who had traveled to different areas separately. The Mississippi Department of Health says that has been the circumstance surrounding most cases of the virus.

"Many of those cases have been folks who have traveled to other states, to New York or Texas, or somewhere that have actually come back and gotten sick the next day," said Dr. Rebecca James. "So, we're seeing it imported."

Although the initial concerns about the virus seem to be dying down, Dr. James says there is still need for caution.

"It's proven to be at this point about the same severity as seasonal flu," James said. "So, that means we should be concerned because across the nation 36,000 people die from seasonal flu every year. So, that means even if it's just the severity of seasonal flu, it's an important thing to be aware of."

Later in the year when kids return to class, temperatures begin to drop, and more people are inside, Dr. James said she expects the swine flu cases to rise even more.

She says the most important thing to remember is that the best defense against the virus is a good offense. This means wash your hands frequently to limit the spread of germs. Also, cover your mouth when you cough, stay away from people who are sick and if you are sick try to stay at home.


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