Wisconsin ramps up preparations for possible swine flu outbreakThere are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Wisconsin, but officials are keeping a close eye on the matter as more states deal with a growing list of cases.
There are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Wisconsin, but officials are keeping a close eye on the matter as more states deal with a growing list of cases.
Minnesota officials reported Wednesday morning that the first potential case of swine flu has occurred there. Tests later today will determine if the strain of flu matches the cases out of Mexico. Two schools in Minnesota were closed as a result of the news.
The Wisconsin Department of Health will be providing a daily report between approximately 3:30-4:00 p.m. and posting the reports at http://pandemic.wisconsin.gov/ about any change in status in the state.
Some 30 cases involving ill Wisconsin residents have been referred to the State Lab for testing, but there has been no confirmation that any are related to the swine flu outbreak.
On April 24, the Division of Public Health learned that a new influenza virus most closely related to swine (or pig) influenza had infected people in California, Texas and Mexico. Most had no contact with pigs. It is now evident that this new virus is spreading from person to person.
• Since then it has spread to include 64 laboratory-confirmed cases in the U.S., including also cases in New York State, Ohio and Kansas. It is considered likely to be relatively widespread in the U.S.
• Cases in the U.S. have all survived, and only five have been hospitalized. In contrast, there have been many cases of pneumonia and some deaths in Mexico. The reasons for this difference are still under investigation.
• On Monday, April 27, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued an advisory on travel to Mexico that recommends postpone of nonessential travel.
• On Monday, April 27, the World Health Organization raised its pandemic threat level to 4 from 3. Level 6 indicates a full scale pandemic. On Wednesday, April 29, that level was raised to 5, with officials saying a global outbreak is imminent.
• Severity of illness from a new virus often changes with time. Officials say they cannot know if it will become more dangerous or more mild.
• Vaccinations given this winter for the “regular” seasonal human influenza will likely not have much effect against this new virus. However, one class of anti-viral medicines may reduce the length and severity of illness.
DPH Incident Command:
• The Division of Public Health activated its Incident Command structure and opened its Emergency Operations Center on Sunday, April 26. The EOC Phone center to triage calls was activated on Tuesday, April 28.
• Scripts have been developed for persons staffing the DPH EOC phone bank. Additional personnel have been requested and coordination efforts are underway to staff the DPH EOC phone center in response to the swine flu outbreak. Four disciplines are needed which include: Epidemiologists, Public Health Nurses, Admin Support and Public Health Educators
• Very high volume of clinical calls
• Staffing phone bank with Spanish speaking staff and clinical staff
• Coordinating with DPI on messaging for schools
• The DPH EOC is currently open.
Wisconsin Case Status:
• As of 3:30 p.m. on April 28, no cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Wisconsin
• State health officials and local health departments continue to work closely with clinical providers to identify and test suspect cases.
• DPH is continuing its surveillance and is investigating suspected cases.
• DPH is working with local health departments, infection control experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• DPH has sent out information and guidance on how to properly collect laboratory specimens and how to submit them to the state laboratory. The division has also offered guidance on isolation procedures.
• DPH will conduct on an “as-needed” basis a partner teleconference 3 times weekly to provide updates and answer questions. Prior notification of a call will occur by 8:30 a.m. on the day of the call.
• Health Officers are asked to report their confirmed and probable cases to DPH.