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Posted: May 5, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: USATF News & Notes, Volume 9, Number 24

USOC Swine (H1N1) Flu Outbreak Update:

As we are all aware, the Swine Flu, now called H1N1 flu, continues to be closely monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as other organizations such as the U.S. State Department. As of May 4, 2009, 20 countries have officially reported 985 confirmed cases of the infection. Mexico has reported 590 cases with 25 deaths. The rate of reported cases is decreasing in Mexico. The CDC reports 286 cases with one death in the United States across 36 states - 73 in New York (mostly in New York City); 41 in Texas; 16 in South Carolina; 8 in Colorado and 30 in California. Though the Pandemic Alert level has increased from 4 to 5 - it only means that there is evidence of the virus in 2 or more countries. Besides the numbers seen in Mexico and the U.S., Canada has 85 cases while Spain has 40, and the United Kingdom has 15.

There should not be cause for alarm. Every year, 36,000 Americans die from seasonal flu. To date, this current outbreak does not appear to be spreading at the rate of seasonal flu. Please continue to maintain safe practices. For all travelers, be sure to update your routine vaccinations, including a seasonal influenza vaccine. The seasonal vaccine is not expected to provide protection against H1N1 flu, it can protect against seasonal flu which may still be circulating in Mexico and the Southern Hemisphere.

The WHO has advised no restrictions of regular travel or closure of borders. Those individuals who are ill should delay international travel, and for those who are developing symptoms following international travel should seek medical attention. If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.

CDC recommends that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico. The CDC is concerned that continued travel by U.S. travelers to Mexico presents a serious risk to their health and after they return to the United States. Be aware that Mexico is checking all exiting airline passengers for signs of H1N1 flu. Exit screening may cause significant delays at airports.

There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked (>160 degrees F) pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 10 seconds.

Some definitions and tips:

Urgent care for the ill: If you are traveling with a team in the United States for competition or camps and your team physician may not be available for consultation and treatment, plan ahead. Check the internet for listings of Urgent Care Centers in the local area. Find out their hours of service, availability of appointments, and insurance acceptance. Using these centers beats a long wait in an emergency room and will be a cost savings.

Infectious period for a confirmed case of swine flu is defined as 1 day prior to the onset to the person's illness onset to 7 days after onset.

Close contact is definedas: within 6 feet of an ill person who is a confirmed or suspected case of H1N1 flu during the case's infectious period.

High-risk groups: A person who is at high-risk for complications of H1N1 flu is defined as the same for seasonal influenza. Those at risk are individuals with diabetes, heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, immunodeficiency, and chronic liver disease. See your physician before unavoidable international travel.

Stay informed. The following websites are helpful: WHO.int ; CDC.gov ; Travel.State.gov . If necessary call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information. The Department of Homeland Security will provide Travel Health Alert Notices (SwineFluTravel).

Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.


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