Health officer expects more cases to follow
A Spokane girl who attends Mountainside Middle School in the Mead School District has become the third person from Spokane to fall ill with the swine-origin influenza A virus, according to the Spokane Regional Health District.
The teenager was not in school during the time when she would have been contagious, though parents of other students at the school have been asked to keep their children home if they exhibit flu symptoms including fever, cough, headache, body aches, diarrhea or vomiting.
There are 176 confirmed cases of swine flu in Washington, according to the Washington state Department of Health. That includes the first two cases in Yakima County.
The most were in King County, with 121 confirmed cases.
Another 34 people had the flu in Snohomish County; six in Pierce County; four in Clark County; three in Whatcom County; and one each in Skagit and Thurston counties.
Another 19 cases are considered probable for swine flu, according to the state.
Dr. Joel McCullough, health officer for Spokane County, said more cases are to be expected.
“It is crucial for people who are sick to stay away from others, and that means staying home from work or school until they no longer have symptoms,” he said in a news release.
Symptoms of the virus are generally mild and can be controlled by drinking plenty of water and holding down fevers.
Those with serious symptoms, such as a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or breathing problems, should call their health care provider.
The health district said many people may not even know they have the flu, making it tough to get accurate local numbers.
As of Monday afternoon, the state had more than 700 samples waiting for confirmation.
State and federal officials have confirmed about a fifth of the Washington flu samples they have tested.