Swine flu probable cases in Illinois
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[April 30, 2009]
SPRINGFIELD -- Dr. Damon T.
Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health director, announced
there are currently nine probable cases of swine flu in Illinois:
five in Cook County (all within the Chicago city limits), one in
DuPage County, two in Kane County and one in Lake County. A probable
case means the Illinois Department of Public Health has tested a
specimen and found that it is positive for influenza A, but it could
not be subtyped. The department has shipped three of the nine
probable case specimens to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention for final testing to confirm if the cases are positive
for swine flu, and the other six were to be shipped later.
The federal government has declared a health emergency and
identified a potential threat to the health and safety of the
citizens of Illinois. A gubernatorial proclamation issued by Gov.
Pat Quinn on Tuesday allows for the mobilization of state assets as
the governor deems necessary to aid in the distribution of medical
supplies and other actions needed to protect the public's health and
"Our goals during this public health emergency are to quickly
identify cases of swine flu and reduce the spread and severity of
the illness," Arnold said. "The governor's proclamation is not cause
for alarm but simply allows us to be proactive and distribute
medicines and medical supplies from the state and federal stockpiles
to hospitals and local health departments across the state so they
are available when they are needed."
U.S. Health and Homeland Security officials have released a
quarter of the country's Strategic National Stockpile to be shipped
to every state. Illinois is expecting to receive its shipment
sometime this week. The SNS contains large quantities of medicine
and medical supplies to protect the American public in the event of
a public health emergency, such as the swine flu outbreak. Included
in the SNS are antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza as well as
surgical masks, gloves and gowns.
Illinois has developed plans to receive and distribute SNS
medicine and medical supplies to local communities as quickly as
possible. Once the SNS reaches Illinois, approximately 200 Illinois
National Guard members will repackage the supplies into smaller
shipments, and Illinois Department of Transportation trucks will
distribute those shipments to state facilities in all areas of
Illinois outside the city of Chicago. Due to the size of its
population, Chicago has its own stockpile and receives its own SNS
from the federal government.
Once the smaller shipments reach state facilities across
Illinois, they will then be distributed to local health departments
and hospitals to be dispensed as needed. The department will issue
guidance on how medicine will be given out when it's needed.
"The swine flu situation is rapidly evolving and we fully expect
to see cases in Illinois," Arnold said. "The department and its
public health partners, including local health departments,
hospitals and emergency departments, are on full alert to watch for
possible cases. We are prepared to act swiftly to assure early
detection and to respond in the event a case or cases are
identified, to limit its spread."
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The Illinois Emergency Management Agency continues to closely
monitor the developing situation and is taking steps to ensure
response plans can be activated quickly if necessary. In addition to
coordinating closely with Arnold, IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III
has participated in several situation briefings with the Department
of Homeland Security. IEMA alerted state agency liaisons to the
State Emergency Operations Center of the developing situation over
the weekend, and on Monday afternoon the liaisons met to discuss
potential response actions. State emergency management officials are
also in contact with local emergency management agencies throughout
the state to make them aware of developments and ensure that they
are prepared to deal with a potential flu outbreak in Illinois.
Arnold recommends that people who have flu-like symptoms, fever
with a cough or sore throat should stay home for seven days after
the onset of illness or at least 24 hours after the symptoms go
away, whichever is longer. People with symptoms who wish to seek
medical care should contact their health care provider by phone
before going to a clinic, physician's office or hospital. If someone
is having difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, or is
believed to be severely ill, they should seek immediate medical
Arnold said the public should follow
some common-sense precautions to avoid getting sick, or if sick,
Cover your nose
and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't
have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your arm.
Wash your hands
often with soap and water -- especially after you cough and
sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
your eyes, nose or mouth -- that's how germs are spread.
If you get sick -- stay home from work
or school and limit your contact with other people to avoid
infecting them. Parents should follow these same recommendations
for their children.
The Department of Public Health will continually update swine flu
Illinois Department of Public Health
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]