Swine Flu Overview

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | e-mail | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Center for Disease Control now has 91 reported cases and one confirmed death from the Swine Flu in the United States. There are no reported cases in Alabama or Georgia, but the outbreak continues to spread.

As the H1 N1 virus -- also known as Swine Flu --  continues to spread, the CDC expects more hospitalizations and even deaths to take place throughout the country.

Swine Flu is a respiratory disease in pigs, but the virus has now spread to humans. Symptoms are similar to the regular flu, including: fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches. There are anti-viral medicines to help ease the symptoms, but they must be used within two days of getting sick.

The Alabama Department of Public Health held a press conference Wednesday morning to address the Swine Flu and answer questions. Officials said this week the department tested eight samples and none of those came back positive with the virus. Wednesday they tested 29 more samples across Alabama, and health officials are currently following dozens of influenza cases all over the state of Alabama.

Officials say the virus may soon take a turn and become less severe. Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Department of Public Health backed up that claim by saying, "I would like to point out that in a regular influenza season in Alabama, we have between 5 and 700 deaths. So this is beginning to look like a regular influenza virus."

The three main concerns the health officer addressed were the early reports of death, the potential of a return and the pandemic potential.

If you're keeping tabs on the Swine Flu, we have a map you might want to check out on our Health Tab. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is updating a map with the number of confirmed cases and deaths from Swine Flu.

The affected states are in red, but you can scroll over any state for information. You can see it for yourself at www.pandemicflu.gov

The University of Georgia released a list of things you and your family can do to stay safe if the Swine Flu becomes a threat in your area.

1. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing

2. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Hand sanitizer is also encouraged.

3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

4. Avoid close contact with sick people.

5. If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.

6. If you start to experience flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor immediately