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H1N1 Swine Flu update

Yavapai County, as of July 22, has had five confirmed cases of H1N1 Swine Flu, according to Robert Resendes, Yavapai County Community Health Services director.

He said the World Health Organization off-site link, on June 11, declared the H1N1 Swine Flu a pandemic.

"This declaration simply indicates how widespread the virus is and not how virulent it is," Resendes said.

He said every county in Arizona, except Greenlee County, now has had confirmed cases. All 50 states now have had confirmed cases as well, he said.

Resendes said, "The county's five confirmed cases all involved patients with preexisting, underlying conditions. All have recovered from their infections."

Yavapai County Public Health officials, he said, are continuing to work closely with state and CDC authorities to ensure that the county is well prepared for any changes in the pandemic and any associated response to the spread of H1N1.

Resendes said the most pressing concern at this time is the possibility of mutation by the virus, which might result in a more virulent strain of the virus.

"The CDC is spearheading the possibility of mass production and distribution of vaccine for later in the fall. Public Health officials are closely monitoring the beginning of the winter seasonal flu in the southern hemisphere to ascertain as early as possible any changes in the pandemic as the winter flu season begins," he said.

Resendes added, "How the virus behaves over the next several months will determine how much of a public health response will be required."

"Public health agencies nationwide have been preparing for years for such an event. Hopefully, this flu virus will simply run its course and fade away like hundreds of others before it," he said.

Resendes said cases of Swine Flu in the United States continue to be generally mild, and resemble low-grade seasonal flu cases.

The YCCHS is advising people to use health precautions as they would to prevent the spread of any flu. These measures include staying healthy, managing stress, eating nutritious foods, staying home if you're sick, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and washing your hands frequently.

Resendes said the symptoms of the Swine Flu are similar to those of regular human flu and include body aches, fever, sore throat, cough, chills and fatigue. The Swine Flu, like seasonal flu, may also cause a worsening of underlying medical conditions.

"If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms and have a fever of 100 degrees or greater, please consult your physician," Resendes said.

He said the YCCHS has received numerous calls about the use of masks during this outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published guidance regarding the use of masks and respirators.

For the latest, up-to-date information and updates on Swine Flu, Resendes said people should visit the CDC's Swine Flu website off-site link or the Arizona Department of Health Services website off-site link.

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