April 27, 2009

CDC: Swine flu mild, but deaths feared

Although the current cases of U.S. swine flu are mild, the public should prepare for additional cases and possible fatalities, a health official said.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for science and public health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in a telephone news conference it is premature to say thew swine flu in Mexico is different from that in the United States, because Mexico has had a number of deaths.

We don't have great information yet, she said. There have been no deaths in the United States so far -- I do fear that we will have deaths here.

The 20 U.S. cases have been mild, with one hospitalized, but health officials expect a broader spectrum of disease -- spreading from person to person, Schuchat said.

Of the cases seen, most have recovered without treatment. The symptoms include high fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea -- but the symptoms are caused by many other things, Schuchat said.

People should stay informed as to what local health officials are advising, because the flu will occur in some areas while other areas will have no disease.

If you have recently returned from Mexico and you have symptoms, consult a healthcare provider to see if you need to be tested, Schuchat said.

Patients with severe symptoms should go to an emergency room, she said.