Samples sent to state, but no swine flu case yet

Published 5:39 pm Friday, May 1, 2009

Butler County has no confirmed cases of swine influenza, but samples from patients have been forwarded to the state laboratory for testing, said the county’s top health official.

Ziba Anderson, administrator for the Butler County Department of Public Health, said communication is the key to dealing with the current outbreak. He said a confirmed case of swine flu in the county would result in health personnel blanketing any locale that draws large crowds with literature explaining the precautionary measures people can take to protect from the virus.

“Communication would be critical…we’d go to the radios, the newspapers, and any place – like Wal-Mart for example – to help people understand the situation,” he said.

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Given how fast the virus has spread in just a week, Thursday’s report of a young man in Montgomery with a probable case of swine flu means there could already be people in Butler County infected with the virus. But Anderson said swine flu appears to cause illness similar to the seasonal flu, and has not been as deadly as officials feared.

“We urge people to be cautious and not to panic,” said Anderson.

The state health department is dealing with backlog of over 70 samples from patients across the state awaiting testing for swine influenza.