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Two Swine-flu Cases in Colorado

May 06, 2009
Two swine-flu cases in Colo. By Howard Pankratz and Jennifer Brown The Denver Post Posted: 04/30/2009 09:34:18 AM MDT Updated: 04/30/2009 06:24:43 PM MDT Dr. Chris Urbina, Denver's director of public health, and Colorado chief medical officer Ned Calonge discuss the arrival of swine flu in Colorado today at the Department of Public Health and Environment. (THE DENVER POST | JOHN PRIETO) Scientists work today in a swine-flu lab at Vitrology Biotech Co. in Clydebank, Scotland. (Getty Images Europe | Jeff J Mitchell)Related May 6: 2nd bag handler has swine flu; state's cases at 10May 5: Texas confirms first death of US resident with fluState flu cases now at 10'03 outbreak fuels harsh measures in China nowMexico seeks "normalcy" amid fluMay 4: Colorado flu cases now at 6Mexico to allow most business to reopenU.S. flu tally jumps to 241 in 31 states2 new cases of flu in Colo.Flu just airlines' latest illAs outbreak grows, Mexico gets a breakSwine flu: Excel parents express concernSome fear flu rebound as Mexico seeks 'normalcy'Two cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Colorado, state health officials said today. The state's chief medical officer, Ned Calonge, said at a press conference this morning that one of the people was an Arapahoe County woman in her 30s who took a cruise to Mexico and then spent some time in San Diego. She is recovering and did not require hospitalization. The second is a baggage handler at Denver International Airport, who was hospitalized at an undisclosed location. Calonge said the man, in his 40s from Douglas County, should be released today. "The best approach to this flu is prevention. If you are ill, you really need not to expose," said Calonge. He said the situation "continues to evolve rapidly." The state Swine Flu Resources Latest News: Read the latest Centers for Disease Control swine flu update. Background: View an interactive timeline of events in the outbreak. View a slideshow of images related to outbreaks around the world. Things You Can Do: "Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs". Plan and Prepare: PandemicFlu.gov's website. International Information: The latest from the World Health Organization. could receive results from at least three other specimens now at the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta by this afternoon. Authorities stressed that that so far, the flu is acting much like a typical seasonal flu. The best defense, they said, is to wash your hands frequently and stay home if you feel ill. People with mild flu symptoms do not necessarily need to visit a doctor, they said. "If you prefer to sit at home, call your employer and say, 'I have the swine flu.' That's the best approach," said Calonge. Despite the job held by one of the flu sufferers, health officials are not concerned that people can contract this flu from baggage. They emphasized it is spread by droplets, which would die quickly outside the human body. "One case in a baggage handler isn't an outbreak," said Calonge. Health officials said they interviewed both of the patients and family members, and there was no link to schools. Some hospitals in the Denver area say they have seen an upswing in the number of people showing up with the flu or flu-like symptoms. Cara Harshberger, spokesperson for Rose Medical Center, said doctors there started seeing an increase beginning Sunday. "We have seen Ned Calonge, the state's chief medical officer, applies hand sanitizer today at the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment. (THE DENVER POST | JOHN PRIETO)not a large increase but a moderate increase," said Harshberger. Julie Lonborg of Swedish Medical Center said that the hospital has had a few more people complaining of flu-like symptoms during the week — "more than we have had in the past." But Amy Speagle, spokeswoman for Medical Center of Aurora, said there has not been "an uptick" in the number of walk-ins, and Linda Watson, of Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, said the same was true of there. Sarah Ellis, spokeswoman for Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, said today that a total of three people showed up complaining of flu-like symptoms. "We have not had unusual numbers, which I think is good news," said Ellis. "We don't want people wigging out." Joan Post Poll - Swine Flu How concerned are you about swine flu? (Read related story.) Quite concerned Somewhat concerned Not too concerned Not concerned at all Ivaska, manager of infection and prevention control at Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital, said that there has been a slight increase in people arriving at the emergency rooms of the three Exempla Healthcare hospitals: Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge and Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette. Kim Kobel, spokesperson for Exempla Healthcare, said that there has been an increase of eight to 10 patients a day at Saint Joseph; 10 to 15 a day at Lutheran; and about six a day at Good Samaritan. "All three hospitals have seen a few more in the last few days" complaining of the flu, said Kobel. The two cases in Colorado, and confirmed cases announced this morning in Kentucky, Delaware, Minnesota, Nebraska, Georgia and New Jersey bring the number of states with confirmed swine flu to 18, according to health officials around the United States. There are now 127 confirmed U.S. cases. New Jersey officials announced today that they have five confirmed cases; Delaware announced it has four. On Monday, the Colorado Health Department activated its incident-command center. In states close to Colorado, swine flu — or the H1N1 flu — has been confirmed in Texas, which has 26 cases, and Kansas, which has two cases. The only death reported so far has been in Texas, where a Mexican toddler who was visiting relatives died. Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or hpankratz@denverpost.com