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Hospitals prepared for swine flu

Posted April 28, 2009

— Area hospitals have ramped up for the potential of swine flu cases multiplying across North Carolina, officials said Tuesday.

No cases of the disease have been confirmed in the state, but hospitals said they are prepared not only to treat anyone who does contract it but also to limit its spread.

WakeMed emergency room Flu won't catch hospitals off-guard

"We're asking people to remember to wash their hands and use common sense. If you don't need to be in a health care setting, don't be there right now," WakeMed Chief Executive Dr. Bill Atkinson said. "I think North Carolina health care providers are ready to deal with whatever might come, and the idea is to contain that."

Hand sanitizer and masks are readily available at WakeMed, as well as at Rex Hospital in Raleigh and UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, officials said.

Rex Hospital has set up a triage station to ask patients about their symptoms and travel history before they enter the emergency room. UNC is obtaining more anti-viral medications to treat the disease.

In a worst-case scenario, WakeMed could roll out a communication truck and set up a quarantine zone with up to 200 beds for swine flu patients, Atkinson said.

In the meantime, the hospital has stepped up vigilance to identify suspected flu cases, said Jessica Dixon, an infection-control nurse at the hospital.

"We're looking for people with respiratory symptoms, sore throat, fever (and gastro-intestinal) illness. We do that all the time, but we're really ramping up surveillance now," Dixon said.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms would then be isolated while tests were conducted to determine whether they have swine flu, she said.


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  • NCMacMan May 1, 2009

    This is not your typical flu bug. This is what has government agencies scrambling to respond. Here is what has been learned about H1V1:

    1) it is a combination of Human, bird, and swine flus
    2) it is immune to seasonal vaccinations
    3) it has mutated to its current form in a very short period of time (animal disease only and mutated to human communicable disease in a very short period of time)
    4) widespread communicability is occurring already

    Even though the H1V1 can be effectively treated with antivirals, not all flu viruses are susceptible to these medications. Given the current economic status of the global economy, this virus has higher implications of impeding recovery and potentially causing a greater swath of illness and death by complications than the regular seasonal flus.

    This is why governments are so concerned.

  • 4 kicks Apr 29, 2009

    Where can I open my surgical mask stand!! I can just smell the profits!

  • cskipper3 Apr 29, 2009

    People freak out because the media tells them to. Fear is great for ratings and profits. It's also a successful way to control and manipulate people too.

  • ERRN Apr 29, 2009

    This is ridiculous, we don't even do this during regular flu season, and swine flu is shown to cause mild symptoms and has a reliable treatment. Why is everyone freaking out?