Officials at the Department of Health and Environmental Control say today that they have confirmed two probable cases of swine flu at Newberry Academy. The cases are being sent to the federal Centers for Disease control for further evaluation.
Dr. Jerry Gibson, chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Disease Control says those who are sick are voluntarily isolating themselves for a few days, and those who were exposed should voluntarily quarantine themselves at home for 48 hours following their last contact with a person showing symptoms.
Gibson says the symptoms are similar to that of regular flu. “That is, you’re going to have muscle aches and pains, a fever, a cough, maybe a runny nose, and you’ll feel pretty bad for several days but then you’ll get better.”
But Gibson says special groups of people are at greater risk. “For people who have the special risk factors for flu that we’ve all heard about, babies and young children, those over 65, people with chronic heart and lung disease, diabetes and metabolic conditions, those people are at risk of more severe disease, of hospitalization, even of death.”
But Gibson points out that between 30,000 and 40,000 people die in the U.S. each year from the regular flu.
A group of Newberry Academy students and three adults went on a trip to Cancun, Mexico and returned last Monday. Twelve students and one adult became ill. Twenty-two people are being tested for the swine virus in connection with that trip.
The school has been closed since Monday and is being sanitized today to reduce the chance of future infections.
The number of Swine flu infections in the U.S. has now jumped to around 70.