A national outbreak of swine flu is putting local health officials on alert. The Alabama Department of Public Health is closely watching the situation and preparing medical staff to respond if the virus reaches into the state.
Health officials say the last outbreak of this potentially deadly virus in the u-s was back in the 70's. At the time they feared it would become pandemic, but fortunately that never happened. Right now doctors are sending samples in from all over the state. Some of those samples are from patients as close as pike and Baldwin counties.
Health officials at southeast Alabama medical center say anxious wiregrass residents are contacting them, concerned about symptoms they have that are similar to the flu.
Health department officials are keeping a close eye on the spread of the virus. Right now they are advising the public to follow simple precautions. They say they are prepared to respond to a large outbreak and inform the public of what to do.
In the meantime, if you are suffering from flu-like symptoms, health officials say call your doctor first and discuss it with them before going to the emergency room or the office. If you have the virus, you could spread it.
Health officials say if you do experience symptoms, contact a doctor within the first 24 to 48 hours so that they can administer anti-virals. If you wait, it could be too late. Also, make sure you have a 2 to 3 week supply of drinking water, food and medication at home.