Park City has another probable swine flu case | ParkRecord.com

Park City has another probable swine flu case

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Health officials confirmed Tuesday that another probable case of the swine flu in Summit County was announced Monday, bringing the number of probable cases in the Park City area to 11.

One confirmed case of the swine flu was announced in the Park City area Saturday.

That case involves a student in the Park City School District who traveled to Mexico for spring break recently, Summit County Health Department Director Steve Jenkins said at a press conference.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing the other probable cases of the swine flu, health officials said.

The samples are mostly from children in the Park City area and the results could begin trickling in this week, Summit County Health Department spokeswoman Katie Mullaly said.

The people suspected of having the swine flu in the Park City area range in age from about 5 to 44 years old, Mullaly said, not disclosing where they live.

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Tension gripped Parkites last week as they waited to hear whether the newly discovered flu strain, which has killed several people in Mexico, had infected people locally. The school district canceled classes and grocery stores saw a run on hand sanitizer as word spread that the student had contracted the virus.

The boy has since recovered from the illness, health officials said.

In Utah, the newly discovered strain of influenza has mostly affected school-aged kids in the Park City area.

Despite the confirmed swine flu case, however, it’s business as usual in Summit County, said Park City Mayor Dana Williams, encouraging people to live life as normal.

"Yes, we’ve got a problem. Yes, we are trying to get the message out that we are open for business as usual," Williams said.

Local businesspeople say the swine flu scare has driven patrons away from some Park City establishments.

All City Hall facilities remain open. But staffers have been instructed to ask people to leave municipal buildings if they display symptoms.

But symptoms so far have been mild, Utah Department of Health Executive Director David Sundwall said.

"There is no need to panic," Sundwall said.

Nobody in the state has been seriously sickened by the virus, he added.

However, he said he expects more cases of the swine flu to be confirmed in Summit County.

Most probable samples sent to the CDC have been confirmed as the H1N1 virus, Sundwall said.

"Ninety-nine percent have proven to be positive," Sundwall said. "So these close unknowns are kind of a proxy for a positive test."

But no sick people in Summit County suspected of having the swine flu have needed to be hospitalized, he said.

"They’re working on a vaccine," Sundwall said, adding that the mild form of influenza behaves "pretty much like the seasonal flu."

Nevertheless, he advised Parkites not to unnecessarily travel to Mexico.

"Take precautions in your personal health not to share the illness," Sundwall said.

Tips from the CDC to avoid contracting swine flu include: 1. Avoid close contact with others 2. Stay home when you are sick 3. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing 4. Wash your hands 5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth 6. Practice good health habits: get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress and maintain a nutritious diet