Gila County has no suspected cases of the swine flu, county epidemiologist Matt Bolinger said Thursday afternoon.
Four confirmed cases of the swine flu had appeared in Arizona as of Thursday, according to The Arizona Republic, which reported that two Chandler elementary schools and one in Phoenix have closed. The virus has affected 141 Americans nationally.
The boy has recovered, although his school will close until May 7, the newspaper reported.
The World Health Organization raised the worldwide alert to Phase 5 out of six levels on Wednesday, signaling an “imminent” pandemic.
Bolinger said it’s important to practice common sense and keep the situation in perspective.
Annually, 35,000 people die from the flu nationally, he said. “One of the biggest concerns with this is that it’s a novel virus.”
In Gila County, two medical response teams have been trained and are ready to assist medical personnel should a local resident fall ill.
“This is not a time for panic, but a time to seek out good information, talk with your family, and develop a plan,” Bolinger wrote in an e-mail.
The federal government has stockpiles of flu-fighting medication spread around the country, he said.
Those feeling ill should stay home. Bolinger said if people need medical attention for flu-like symptoms, they should call ahead to the medical provider and alert them so they can make any necessary preparations.
Most of the cases nationally have not required hospitalization, Bolinger said.
Only one Texas death, a baby from Mexico, has been linked to the swine flu nationally. Fifty of the cases appeared in New York, says the CDC.
The United States has declared a public health emergency, although borders remain open.
According to the CDC, the flu spreads mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of infected people, although the agency doesn’t know how easily this strand of the virus transmits between people.
Medical officials recommend covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then discarding the tissue. Also, wash hands often with soap and water, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting.
According to the CDC, you can’t get swine flu from eating pork.
Anti-viral drugs work best if started within two days of symptoms appearing, according to the agency.
Some viruses can live for two hours on surfaces like cafeteria tables or doorknobs.
There is no vaccine to protect against the swine flu, however medicines are available to shorten the duration of the illness.
Between 2005 and January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu appeared in the U.S. with no fatalities, according to the CDC.