Fresno County Health Department on Swine Flu

April 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Doctors at the Fresno County Health Department believe the Swine flu is here, they just haven't found it yet. They also don't know how bad it is, or how bad it will get. So, they're issuing warnings, and urging precautions.Only a handful of swine flu cases have been confirmed in California, and those who got the flu so far have recovered. But, Edward Moreno, Fresno County's Director of Public Health, believes there's reason for concern. "We don't want to jump to conclusions that this is mild and we don't have to worry. We have to look across the border in Mexico, where there is confirmed death due to this virus." Moreno said.

With the Valleys close connection to Mexico and travelers coming and going by bus and by plane every day, Moreno said it's almost certain Swine Flu is here. "There's a good likelihood that swine influenza is already in Fresno County, or will shortly be in Fresno County." Moreno said.

But according to Vikki Calderon, a spokesperson for Fresno Yosemite International Airport, there's no real effort to monitor those coming in from Mexico. "At this point we are not aware of any additional screening procedures that customs and border protection agency is implementing. We have been told they are just being vigilant on assessing if passengers are showing any symptoms of flu like conditions," Calderon said.

Because of the Swine Flu outbreak, U.S. officials are urging Americans not to travel to Mexico. Ed Moore of Oakhurst is taking the advice and trying to avoid a layover in Mexico City, on his way to Peru. "It's because of the swine flu epidemic. It just seems like it's all that's on the news. Every time you look at it it's getting worse and worse," Moore said.

Moreno acknowledges it's not clear just how serious the situation is. "You know, one of the things we are not going to be doing here at the Fresno County Department of Public Health is predicting the how severe this will be, how rapidly it will progress or, how long it will last."

The health department tested its first 12 samples of flu virus from local victims Monday, none were found to have the swine flu virus. The testing of about 30 samples a day starts Tuesday. The symptoms are almost identical to the regular seasonal flu going around.

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