The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced May 1 that Missouri has it's first confirmed case of swine flu, also known as H1N1 virus.
The patient is a woman in her 30s from Platte County who contracted the virus on a recent trip to Mexico. The country is apparently where the virus originated from.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, "The woman received antiviral medication and was never admitted to a hospital. Health officials have informed all persons with whom the patient had direct contact so that they can receive appropriate medical care. Their doctor or other medical provider will determine whether they should receive doses of antiviral medication."
"The woman and people with whom she has been in contact also have been given instructions in ways to avoid spreading the virus," according to the department.
About 141 people in the U.S. have been infected by the virus which has killed several people in Mexico.
Gov. Jay Nixon announced April 28 that state health officials are acting to combat the new strain of the swine flu and the state and medical community have been on "high alert" since April 24. The state has also been able to stockpile "enough antiviral medications to treat more than 600,000 cases of swine flu," according to a MDHSS press release.
"Missourians should know that people, plans and protections are in place to do everything possible to prevent the spread of swine flu in our state," Gov. Nixon said.
When Missouri received word from the CDC about the confirmed case in the state, the MDHSS undertook distribution of medical supplies and antiviral medication to every county, according to a press release.
Kit Wagar, a spokesperson for MDHSS, said the way local health agencies will distribute antiviral medications will depend on how the health agency needs to distribute them. "Some are distributing them to pharmacies and others are handing them out when it's appropriate," Wagar said.
He said the two antiviral medications that seem to be affective against swine flu are Tamiflu and Relenza, which are commercially available antivirus medications.
Wagar said the MDHSS is hoping that most cases of probable swine flu, which could end up being allergies, a cold or the normal flu, can be handled by medical professionals.
To test for swine flu a sample is taken by doing a swab of the nose, Wagar said. "Out of the six to seven dozen (they've tested) most end up negative," he said. Out of all who were tested, Wagar said, two came back with the normal flu and one with swine flu.
The unfortunately named disease prompted the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation and Affiliated Companies to issue a statement April 29 regarding swine influenza and Missouri's pork population.
"Consumers should not assume the terminology used to describe the current influenza outbreak has any bearing upon the safety of eating pork and pork products," Charles E. Kruse, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, said. "In fact, the World Organization for Animal Health contends the new virus should not be called 'swine influenza' at all, but rather the 'North American influenza' using the same approach as in the past for naming influenza pandemics for regions where they first occurred. Other officials are referring to the virus by its scientific name of H1N1."
Cooking meat throughly normally destroys bacteria and viruses that might be in raw meat. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat, such as pork, is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the temperature at which meat should be safe to eat.
April 30, MDHSS announced that another Missouri resident from Kansas City had a possible case of swine flu and was being treated at a hospital in Nebraska.
"Nebraska authorities say the person involved is a 19-year-old man who was in Nebraska to obtain health care for another medical condition. He remains in the hospital," according to the department. "The Douglas County, Neb., Health Department is working on tracking people who had contact with the man to determine whether they are experiencing any signs of illness." May 3, that person was confirmed by the CDC as having swine flu.
May 1, the MDHSS announced that two more probable cases of swine flu have been discovered in the state. The two cases are from a father and son in Howard County who recently returned from a trip to Mexico.
Another four probable cases of swine flu were found in Kansas City May 3.
According to a MDHSS press release, "Within the next week, Missouri's state Public Health Laboratory will have the ability to perform the (swine flu) tests necessary to confirm the presence of H1N1." Currently, the state relies on the CDC for confirmation of the presence of swine flu.
Using common sense can help people avoid getting or spreading the disease. MDHSS suggests washing hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based cleansers can also be used on hands. When coughing or sneezing, cover nose and mouth with a tissue and throw the tissue away. Keep from touching eyes, nose or mouth and from close contact with sick people, and if you feel sick, stay home.