Health Officials Gear Up for Swine Flu

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 27, 2009

At this point, there’s no vaccine for swine flu.  But the state is stockpiling a supply of prescription antiviral drugs like Tamiflu which help reduce symptoms of fever, fatigue, sore throat or coughing.

Dr. Mark Horton is the director of the California Department of Public Health. He says the extra medicine is coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- or CDC.

“In the federal stockpile they have 5 million courses of antiviral medications. We will be getting 25 percent of that, something like 1.325 million courses.”
Horton says these medications will first go to county health departments with confirmed cases.

In another development, state officials say they’ll have the ability to screen cases much faster starting Tuesday. Dr. Gil Chavez is an Infectious disease specialist with the Department of Public Health. He says California has received permission to analyze swine flu samples instead of sending them to the CDC.

“We no longer will have to ship specimens to Atlanta and we will have results in a much more timely basis and that is very, very good news for our response.” 
Health officials say the public needs to do their part too. They say you should wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home if you get sick.