No swine flu in Hawaii; Governor urges caution

Gov. Linda Lingle addresses the media on the swine flu outbreak. No cases have been identified in Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office)

Gov. Linda Lingle addresses the media on the swine flu outbreak. No cases have been identified in Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office)

MEDIA RELEASE

State authorities Monday said no cases of swine flu have been identified in Hawaii.

Gov. Linda Lingle, Major Gen. Robert Lee, State Adjutant General and director of State Civil Defense; Chiyome Fukino, M.D., state Health Director; and Sarah Park, M.D., state Epidemiologist held a news conference Monday to discuss the state’s efforts to protect Hawaii residents and visitors from swine flu.

As of Monday, April 27, the outbreak has sickened 40 people in the United States: seven in California, two in Kansas, one in Ohio, two in Texas and 28 in New York City. 

“Now is a time to be alert and vigilant – following the Department of Health’s recommendations – but not to be alarmed in any way,” Lingle said.

Steps Hawaii residents can take to decrease their chances of getting the flu include washing hands frequently, covering sneezes and coughs and avoiding others with respiratory illnesses.

Lee said he is participating in daily conference calls with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Department of Health and Human Services and is working closely with the state Department of Health to coordinate Hawaii’s response.

Park said the state’s routine surveillance plans, in place since 2005, have positioned the state well to monitor international visitors. In response to the cases reported from the United States, Hawaii airports are enhancing this program the monitor passengers traveling from the U.S. mainland.

Park said because no cases have been reported in the state, Hawaii residents have been given the gift of time to develop preparedness plans.

“Now is a time for us to get our house in order,” she said, recommending families develop a preparedness plan in the event of an emergency that requires them to stay at home for several days. 

She also noted it is a good time to be prepared at home by having food, water, cash and other necessities available in the event they are needed.

With a typical incubation period of 2-5 days, symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to symptoms of seasonal flu in humans and may include: fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, fatigue, headache and body aches. In some cases, people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu.

The Department of Health reminds residents swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by consumption of food, and a person cannot get swine influenza from eating pork products. The infections appear to be spread from person-to-person.

DOH is receiving frequent updates from CDC and is working closely with physician, hospitals, and laboratories statewide to monitor the situation and follow up on any possible cases.

Watch this news conference.

— Find out more:

Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/swineflu

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