HEALTH

Swine flu update: Cases confirmed at NYC prep school

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK As of 1 p.m. Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 20 additional cases of swine flu in New York, bringing the total number of swine flu cases so far to 40 overall and 28 in New York.

The New York City Department of Health is investigating a cluster of illness at the St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, where 100 students missed classes because of flu-like illness last week. Daily calls with hospitals and monitoring of admissions have yet to suggest a wider or more severe outbreak.

The 20 additional cases of swine flu were associated with the St. Francis Preparatory School, the CDC confirmed.

All of the patients suffered only minor illness.

The NYC Health Department has also identified 17 more probable cases within the St. Francis school cluster. Nasal swabs from those patients are undergoing confirmatory testing at the CDC.

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RediClinic adds travel immunization packages, expands other services

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOUSTON Clinic operator RediClinic is now offering a string of new services, including a new Travel Healthy Package to help international travelers stay healthy by providing them with a medical overview of their travel destination and a list of required immunizations, which can be obtained at RediClinic.

“The Travel Healthy Package is a great tool for international travelers to identify their medical needs before their trip,” stated Web Golinkin, CEO of RediClinic. “It is especially important for international travelers to ensure that when booking travel they have enough time to receive destination-specific immunizations, some of which are administered over several months.”

The Travel Health Package, priced at $75, includes a destination-specific travel risk assessment, vaccination recommendations and administration, recommended travel prescriptions, an immunization certificate and general travel tips. The package also includes a travel report focusing on health and safety issues based on individual itineraries, including a country profile, hospital/clinic information, basic preventative measures, safety and security tips, embassy locations, crime statistics and information regarding public and private transportation.

“International travel can be very rewarding, but its health risks should be taken seriously,” stated Golinkin. “RediClinic can help to minimize these risks while saving travelers time and money.”

Other new services now available at RediClinic include B12 shots for adults, treatment solutions for acne and instant tests for mono.

The company currently operates 21 in-store health clinics within HEB stores in Houston and Austin, Texas.

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CDC confirms swine flu outbreak

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday confirmed seven human cases of swine flu, including five in southeast California and two in San Antonio, Texas.

The agency is currently working with local and state health agencies to investigate these cases and has determined that the virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human.

“However, at this time, we have not determined how easily the virus spreads between people,” the agency noted.

There is no vaccine available at this time, so it is important for people living in these areas to take steps to prevent spreading the virus to others, CDC noted. If people are ill, they should attempt to stay at home and limit contact with others. Healthy residents living in these areas should take everyday preventive actions.

People who live in these areas who develop an illness with fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, should contact their health care provider. Their health care provider will determine whether influenza testing is needed.

Clinicians should consider the possibility of swine influenza virus infections in patients presenting with febrile respiratory illness who:

  • Live in San Diego County or Imperial County, California or San Antonio, Texas; or
  • Have traveled to San Diego and/or Imperial County, California or San Antonio, Texas; or
  • Have been in contact with ill persons from these areas in the 7 days prior to their illness onset.

If swine flu is suspected, clinicians should obtain a respiratory swab for swine influenza testing and place it in a refrigerator, not a freezer, the agency advised. Once collected, the clinician should contact their state or local health department to facilitate transport and timely diagnosis at a state public health laboratory.

None of the infected individuals, who range in age from 9 to 54, have had direct contact with pigs, suggested Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, during a conference call with journalists Thursday. “Investigations to identify the source of infection and to determine whether additional persons have been ill from infection with similar swine influenza viruses are ongoing,” the CDC stated.

Schuchat identified the virus as “unusual,” in that it contains fragments from four different influenza sources: a North American swine flu, a North American avian flu, a human flu, and a swine virus typically found in Asia and Europe.

The virus is resistant to amantadine and rimantadine, but susceptible to the newer flu drugs Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir).

Schuchat reported that the flu strain did not seem very severe, with onset accompanied by typical flu symptoms in addition to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in some.

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