D.H.E.C. Epidemiologist Jerry Gibson is now referring to South Carolina’s outbreak of swine flu as an epidemic. The Department of Health and Environmental Control says there are 13 confirmed cases of swine flu in the state, all located in Newberry. At the same time, DHEC says six more cases are “probable” but haven’t been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control.
Gibson says, in simple terms, an epidemic is a situation where there is a higher than previously experienced infection level.
But Gibson says many more people are affected by the situation and at risk. “As an illustration about the amount of work that’s going on, we are isolating 51 people, we’re doing voluntary home quarantine on 127, and giving 130 persons post-exposure preventative treatment. That’s people we think were exposed, who we treat before they come down with illness.”
All of the cases are connected to a trip that Newberry Academy students and chaperons took to Mexico. One of those cases is located in the Charleston area.
Mauldin High School in Greenville County was closed Thursday after up to 18 students experienced flu-like symptoms following a recent trip to Disney World in Florida. At the same time, Gibson says there is no reason to believe that those in Mauldin are swine flu cases. ”
But Gibson points out that any flu outbreak is bad news, and he says it is up to local school administration to make decisions about regular seasonable outbreaks in their communities. Mauldin High remains closed Friday.