The U.S. Government declared a nationwide public health emergency Sunday as the number of swine flu cases continued to rise.
But local health officials say there is no reason to panic.
Dr. Diane Weems, chief medical officer for the Coastal Health District, said Tuesday there are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Georgia and the confirmed cases in the United States have generally been mild.
"We are getting a lot of calls from health care providers, who are receiving a lot of calls from there patients," said Dr. Weems. "The district is working with these providers to enhance the monitoring of the local community. We are ready to act if need be."
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans.
Swine flu does not normally infect humans; however, human infections with swine flu do occur. Public health officials have determined the current strain of swine flu virus spreads from human to human and can cause illness.
Dr. Weems recommends a common sense approach to preventing the spread of the virus, such as regular hand washing and checking with your primary care physicians if you are not feeling well and following their advice.
In addition, there are basic steps you should take to avoid infection: Avoid contact with ill people. When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve if you do not have a tissue. Throw used tissues in a trash can. After you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
If you think you are ill with flu, avoid close contact with others as much as possible. Stay at home or in your hotel room. Also, seek medical care if you are severely ill and note there are doctor-prescribed medications for prevention and treatment of swine flu.