NORRISTOWN PA – Pennsylvania’s second confirmed case of the illness formerly known as swine flu, now dubbed the less-catchy “A/H1N1 Influenza,” was – as expected – one that surfaced in Montgomery County (PA) late last month, the county Health Department said Wednesday (May 6, 2009).
Although both the county and state agree more flu cases will arise, the apparently lowered risk of a pandemic and the lack of “cause for alarm” prompted county health officials to say they will no longer issue public alerts on flu confirmations.
The flu victim, a 28-year-old man from Lower Merion (PA) Township (on Philadelphia’s Main Line, about 25 miles southeast of Sanatoga village), has already recovered from the illness. He had “not traveled in the last month and … had no known contact with ill persons,” the county reported.
In other swine flu-related developments:
Pottsgrove “extra vigilant.” The Pottsgrove School District, in a message to parents posted on its website this week, reports all teachers and staff members have “been advised of (Montgomery County’s swine flu) situation and are instructed to be extra vigilant in hand washing, and the cleaning of work and classroom areas.” The message also offers tips on ways to prevent or avoid the illness.
Keeping lawmakers up-to-date. Pennsylvania legislators Wednesday trooped around the block from their offices in Harrisburg to the State Museum to hear how the state Health Department and Emergency Management Agency were responding to the outbreak. In addition to the two confirmed cases, officials said, there were 18 other probable cases statewide.
The nation’s cautious. Results of an American Red Cross poll released Wednesday show that one-in-three Americans is worried about the swine flu outbreak, but more than half of the people are paying extra attention to good hygiene and preparedness as a way of protecting themselves. Four of five surveyed reported they were following the swine flu story very or fairly closely, and 36 percent said they were either very worried (8 percent) or somewhat worried (28 percent) about this flu virus.
Insurers get nervous. A Berwyn PA law firm said it plans to hold a May 13 teleconference for its clients, mostly insurance companies, on “assessing insurers’ legal risks and addressing both their immediate and strategic business needs” during a pandemic. “I think the most important thing for the (insurance) industry to do at this point is to learn as much as it can about pandemic issues and responses to them,” attorney Michael R. Nelson said.
Toning down the alarm. U.S. health officials said they are no longer recommending that schools close if students come down with H1N1. “We no longer feel that school closure is warranted,” Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday. Last week, schools were advised to shut down for about two weeks if there were suspected cases of swine flu. So far, CDC officials reported, nearly two of every three suspect flu cases involve those under the age of 18.
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