World Health Organization: Swine flu could spread globally

From CNN:

The presence of swine flu in Mexico and the United States is “a serious situation” that could develop into a pandemic, the World Health Organization’s director-general said Saturday.

“This is an animal strain of the H1N1 virus and it has pandemic potential because it is infecting people,” Dr. Margaret Chan said Saturday speaking to reporters by phone.

In Mexico, 68 people have died from swine flu, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Eight people were confirmed to have swine flu in the United States; six in California and two in Texas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All eight have recovered, according to CDC’s acting Director Richard Besser.

CDC has tested 14 samples of the virus from Mexico and found seven were identical to the virus found in the U.S. cases, Besser said.

CDC: Swine Influenza and You

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
An excerpt from the “Questions and Answers” resource:

What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of swine flu happen regularly in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Most commonly, human cases of swine flu happen in people who are around pigs but it’s possible for swine flu viruses to spread from person to person also.

Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S.?
In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.

Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Iowa healthcare expansion measure approved

From Modern Healthcare:

The Iowa Legislature sent Gov. Chet Culver an expansion of Iowa’s healthcare system that backers said would include the 53,000 children in the state lacking coverage. The House approved the measure on a 95-0 vote and the Senate followed suit on a 39-9 vote. The measure expands the number of children eligible for coverage by a state program that pays for healthcare for children of the working poor. It would allow coverage for children in families that make up to three times the federal poverty level. Backers said that assures that virtually all children lacking healthcare now would be covered. The move is the final step in a three-part health care expansion. The final piece was projected to cost $10 million, but Sen. Jack Hatch, (D-Des Moines) said that dropped to roughly $7.5 million because Congress earlier this year expanded its children’s healthcare effort. Hatch said lawmakers are already turning attention to the next step in healthcare expansion. “This sets the state on a path where we can begin to expand coverage for adults,” said Hatch. “That’s our goal for next year.”

Freestanding ED


There’s no hospital attached to the emergency department at the Heathcote Health Center, but the freestanding ER has most everything it needs.

Ambulance bays and a medical helicopter are out back. An imaging center provides X-rays and CT scanning, and an MRI is coming soon. There’s a laboratory, trauma suites – and rarely more than a couple of people in the waiting room.

In the nine months since the 11-bed facility opened in this northern Virginia bedroom community, more than 1,000 patients a month have come through the doors with everything from a sore throat to cardiac arrest.

Heathcote is here mostly because the rapid population growth has clogged the roads and the route to the nearest hospital.