School, health officials respond to swine flu reports

Ramona schools haven’t seen a drop in attendance this week as a result of reports of swine flu cases in the county, but parents are calling and asking questions and, CalFire Division Chief Kevin O’Leary said, CalFire has sent an incident command team to Sacramento to be ready if medicines need to be distributed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported 64 human cases of swine influenza A in the country, 45 of them in New York City. Ten cases were identified in California, five in San Diego County, with health officials saying two more are likely in the county. One private school, Christ the Cornerstone Academy in Mira Mesa, was closed Monday after one student tested positive for swine flu and six teachers were exposed.

Ramonans have been checking CDC, county and other Web sites for information about the swine flu, common in pigs but rarely seen in humans. Health officials believe human cases started in Mexico, where at least 150 deaths have been reported.

School district and CalFire officials in Ramona said Tuesday they aren’t aware of any cases of swine flu in the community.

Facts about swine flu from San Diego County Health and Human Services are on Ramona Unified School District’s Web site at www.ramona.k12.ca.us/ramonausd and the CDC Web site at www.cdc.gov/flu/swine.

People may also call 211 San Diego, activated to provide information to the public. People calling 211 will be connected to a person who can answer non-emergency questions about the swine flu.

Ramona schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Graeff e-mailed information about swine flu to all school principals on Monday. CalFire, which operates the Ramona Fire Department and provides paramedic and emergency medical response in the area, is focusing on educating its employees about swine flu, its symptoms, how it is transmitted, and personal protective equipment to use and appropriate precautions to take if they are aiding a swine flu victim, said CalFire Capt. Jack Wethey with the Ramona Fire Department.

In a public health update Monday afternoon, San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said the situation is changing quickly and the focus is on slowing the spread of the virus. County health officials are working closely with the CDC, state  health department and Imperial County health department  to investigate and track cases, said Wooten.

Swine flu, a respiratory disease in pigs caused by type A influenza viruses, occasionally cases human disease. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, coughing and lack of appetite. Other symptoms are sore throat, body aches and headache, and some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting.

The virus is contagious. Washing hands often with soap and water is recommended. Flu viruses spread through people with the flu coughing or sneezing, or touching something with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.For more information, call the Swine Flu Hotline at 858-715-2250 or visit www.sdcounty.ca.gov.

   
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