Flu declared pandemic

By Alec Fanaroff, Staff Writer and Alec Fanaroff, Staff Writer

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), swine flu has officially been declared a pandemic, reaching phase 6, the highest level of infectious influenza. A total of 209,438 cases of swine flu and 2,185 deaths have been reported worldwide.

According to the CDC, the H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available this fall. Until then, doctors are finding other ways to cope with the H1N1 strain.
“Patients just need to rest and drink plenty of fluids,” said Julie K. Fox, an  internist from Silver Spring.

H1N1 is a highly contagious virus, and individuals are advised to stay away from affected people until their symptoms are gone.

“Why exactly this virus is easy to transmit and why it appears to cause relatively mild disease is difficult to determine with certainty,” said Henry Masur, former president of the Infectious Disease Society of America.

The H1N1 strain is also particularly resilient, which adds to its ability to spread among people more quickly.

“Flu viruses can survive on surfaces such as countertops or door knobs for two hours or longer,” Fox said. “People need to wash their hands with soap and water ,but if it is not available alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the next best thing.”