Swine flu outbreak crosses into U.S.

'We’re on alert here,’ county official says

Mesa County health officials are gearing up for the swine flu, which has crossed the border with Mexico and broken out in Texas and California.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it was too late to contain the swine flu outbreak in the United States.

Among other steps, the Mesa County Health Department opened its influenza hot line — 248-6989 — on Friday, said Dr. Michael Aduddell, director of the health department.

“We’re on alert here,” Aduddell said.

No cases of swine flu were reported in Colorado on Friday, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Aduddell and other health-department officials will listen in over the weekend to daily updates with state officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said Friday.

“We’re really in an information-gathering mode at this time,” he said.

The health department has an ample supply of vaccine for immediate use should the flu be detected, he said.

The flu strains found in California and Texas are identical to the one in Mexico, but the symptoms appear to be less virulent than those in Mexico, where at least 60 were reported dead, officials said.

The swine flu causes typical influenza symptoms: fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue.

Officials are asking health-care providers who see patients with flu-like symptoms who have recently visited any of the affected areas to collect nasal swab specimens and send them to the state laboratory.

The standard advice for flu season applies to swine flu, officials said.

People should wash their hands frequently and cover their sneezes and coughs. People suffering from the flu-like symptoms should stay home from school or work.

State officials also urged Coloradans to be prepared in the event of an epidemic, stockpiling at home a two-week supply of food, water and other emergency supplies.


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