The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made a declaration
of public health emergency. The declaration allows for the
mobilization of protective actions. "These efforts are being taken
to be proactive in responding to this new influenza virus by
offering national tools in support of community-led preparedness and
response efforts." -- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Human cases of swine flu (swH1N1) have been confirmed in five
states: California, Texas, Kansas, New York and Ohio. There are no
cases reported in Illinois, and there have been no related deaths in
No one wants to see a flu epidemic come to Logan County, but if
it would, officials here are prepared.
The Logan County Department of Public Health, serving as the lead
agency, has been working with local medical care providers,
emergency responders, county and city government officials.
The Pandemic Influenza Community Coalition was begun in 2006 and has
a plan in place that would minimize the spread and effects of any
highly infectious communicable disease that would threaten the
public's health in Logan County.
Logan County officials, leaders and agencies met in the Logan
County Emergency Operation Center on Monday afternoon to review the
plans and discuss preparedness in light of the potential health
threat. The gathering included every agency and branch of government
that would be called on if swine flu would enter Logan County.
Bringing up-to-the-hour news and information to the meeting from
federal and state authorities were Mark Hilliard, administrator of
the Logan County Department of Public Health; Margie Harris,
assistant administrator; and Shana Bean, emergency response
Of particular importance at Monday's meeting was a review of
procedures to distribute medications that would be released from the
strategic national stockpile. If swine flu would spread to Illinois,
the state would release antiviral medications from regional sites
for delivery and distribution.
What you should be doing to protect
yourself and others:
Cover your nose
and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and throw the
tissue away. Use your sleeve if you do not have a tissue.
Wash your hands
contact with anyone who appears sick.
If you get sick,
stay home from work or school, and limit contact with others.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or
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What to do if you think you may have been exposed:
Individuals who have recently traveled to Mexico, or have been
around others who have been to Mexico and are exhibiting
influenza-like symptoms should seek medical guidance. -- CDC
At present the illness has been tracked back to having started in
Mexico in mid-March.
The CDC recommended on Monday to avoid nonessential travel to
Here in Logan County, Harris said that the health department has
been in contact with local health care providers and they know what
to look for.
Global and national health agencies are currently collaborating
to develop a vaccine precursor that could be used to develop a
vaccine for this swine flu virus.
Some facts about swine flu:
Swine flu is a
respiratory disease of pigs caused by the type A influenza that
regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs.
Swine flu viruses
normally do not infect humans. However, human infections
with swine flu do occur, and some human-to-human spread of swine
flu viruses has been documented.
Swine flu viruses cannot be transmitted
by food, and you cannot get it from eating pork or pork products
Logan County Department of Public Health officials are
communicating daily with state and federal officials. The main
message for the public at this time is to "stay calm, don't
overreact, and follow information updates."
The health department's Web site will be updated daily and
currently has links to pertinent information. Go to
[News release from the
Logan County Department of Public
Health, Logan County Emergency Management Agency and Local
Emergency Planning Committee]
County Department of Public Health
109 Third St., P.O. Box 508
Lincoln, IL 62656