By B.J. Reyes
With the Internet abuzz over the outbreak of swine flu, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann issued a statement to address the matter:
“The federal government has documented 40 cases of swine flu nationally which are related to the initial outbreak of the virus in Mexico several days ago. The good news for Hawaii is that, as of today, no cases of swine flu have been identified in our State. In addition the strain of flu that has affected residents on the mainland is a milder form than that which is affecting patients in Mexico.
“The important thing for our residents is to not panic but instead take the time now to become informed about the effects of an influenza and think seriously about family disaster planning and preparedness. Treat this influenza outbreak as you would in preparation for any natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tsunami.”
The Mayor’s statement also provided a checklist of health guidance recommendations:
>> Wash your hands often (15-20 seconds) with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner which can be found at any drug store.
>> If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
>> Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
>> Most residents experiencing cold symptoms are experiencing just that, a simple cold. However if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms and have recently traveled to any of the affected areas you may want to consider consulting your health care provider (fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea).
The mayor’s statement was released at 1:37 p.m., a little more than an hour after Gov. Linda Lingle’s office announced she would hold a news conference at 2:45 p.m. with Department of Health officials to discuss what the state is doing to address the situation.
Lingle repeated that there have been no cases of swine flu in Hawaii, adding that the state has stepped up “passive surveillance” of airline passengers.
Look for a complete story on the state and city’s efforts against swine flu in tomorrow’s Star-Bulletin.