Swine flu scare could swell
April 30, 2009
With three children in the Park City area possibly infected with swine flu, health officials worry the disease could have spread to others before the suspected cases were discovered in western Summit County.
"We’re just anticipating that we’re probably going to see more and more cases because of the amount of travel back and forth to Mexico," said Carolyn Rose, the nursing director at the Summit County Health Department.
Many students have returned to Park City recently from spring break vacations in Mexico, where a newly discovered strain of swine flu has killed several people this week.
"Right now the symptoms are fairly mild, but it could evolve or mutate," said Katie Mullaly, a spokeswoman for the Summit County Health Department. "That’s why we want to control it now."
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to analyze test samples from Park City and return results Friday and Monday.
"If kids are sick, they need to stay home and they need to stay away from social activities," Rose said.
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A case of swine flu is expected to be confirmed in the state by Friday, Utah Department of Health Executive Director David Sundwall said at a press conference Thursday.
"Thus far it’s a relatively mild disease," Sundwall said.
Summit County Health Department Director Steve Jenkins told reporters that officials are ready to manage an outbreak.
"We’re trying to keep people as calm as possible," Jenkins said.
At the press conference, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said "the flu has arrived in Utah."
"We will have some confirmed cases in the days ahead, and the numbers will probably go up," Huntsman said.
Three of the five probable swine flu cases awaiting confirmation in Utah are in Summit County, health officials said.
Tests are pending on an additional roughly 60 samples taken from sick people in the state, health officials said.
The three children tested this week after falling ill in Park City attend elementary and middle schools in western Summit County and are expected to be OK, Park City School District Superintendent Ray Timothy said.