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Swine Flu outbreak declared public health emergency (4/27)

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an investigation and response effort has been launched surrounding the recent outbreak of human cases of swine flu influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in both the U.S. and internationally.

Currently, 40 human cases of swine flu infection have been confirmed in the U.S., according to the CDC Web site, which provides the following breakdown by state:
  • California: 7 cases
  • Kansas: 2 cases
  • New York City: 28 cases
  • Ohio: 1 case
  • Texas: 2 cases
The CDC says it is working closely with these states, as well as with health officials in Mexico and Canada, and with the World Health Organization. The agency has deployed staff to provide guidance and technical support both in the U.S. and abroad and has activated its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response to this emerging health threat.

Yesterday , Secretary of the Department Homeland Security Janet Napolitano declared a public health emergency in the U.S. This will allow funds to be released to support the public health response. CDC says its goals during this public health emergency are to reduce transmission and illness severity, and provide information to assist health care providers, public health officials and the public in addressing the challenges posed by this newly identified influenza virus.

To this end, CDC has issued a number of interim guidance documents in the past 24 hours. In addition, CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is releasing one-quarter of its antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment, and respiratory protection devices to help states respond to the outbreak. Laboratory testing has found the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir. This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated guidance and new information as it becomes available.

For updates, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/index.htm.

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