Health Department Monitoring for Swine Flu; No Local Cases Reported

As of Wednesday, April 29, 2009, no known cases of swine flu have been reported in the state of Georgia.

However, the Chatham County Health Department is continuing to monitor for the disease as the virus spreads to more people and more states throughout the U.S.

“Flu viruses can spread rapidly, so even though we have no local cases right now, we feel it’s important to be proactive,” says Diane Weems M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Administrator of the Chatham County Health Department.

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs that does not normally infect humans; however, human infections with swine flu do occur.

This current strain of swine flu has begun to spread from human to human, causing illness.

The symptoms of swine flu in people are often similar to regular seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing.

Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you are concerned that you may have been infected, contact your health care provider.

The Chatham County Health Department is working with area health care providers and partner agencies to increase surveillance for local illness, as well as reviewing its own flu response plans.

“We’re also trying to educate the public through our website, the local media and our flu hotline. We’re reminding everyone to take simple but important steps to prevent the spread of any illness, including swine flu.”

The Health Department encourages all residents to: • 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. • If you are sick, please stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. If you are ill and have recently traveled to an area affected by swine flu, or been in contact with someone who has been infected with swine flu, contact your health care provider immediately. The Health Department has established a flu hotline at 912-691-6223, which offers recorded information about the current situation.

This hotline is NOT for reporting illness – illness should be reported to health care providers.

The hotline message will be updated periodically as the situation evolves.

Additional information about swine flu can also be found at the Coastal Health District’s website at

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