PCMH: We're Ready For Swine Flu

The Pandemic Task Force at Pitt County Memorial Hospital met Sunday night to talk about swine flu.

The virus has killed as many as 86 people in Mexico. It hasn't been fatal in the U.S., but there are at least 20 cases confirmed in five states and the government has declared a public health emergency.

Keith Ramsey iss the Medical Director for Infection Control at PCMH as well as a professor at the Brody School of Medicine.

Ramsey says there have been no cases of the Swine Flu in North Carolina but he could see it coming our way. He says right now we are at a pandemic level 3.

"We've had students come back from spring break that may bring back the virus with them," Ramsey said. "We also have a lot of migrant workers who could have brought the virus back with them. So it's possible we would have some cases show up here in Greenville."

People who show up at PCMH emergency rooms should expect to see signs in English and Spanish explaining to them that they need to tell a hospital staffer if they are sick and have been to Mexico.

"Anyone who comes into the ER who has a cough or fever, flu-like symptoms we will put a mask on them until they can be evaluated by physicians," Reed said.

If you can't make it to the doctor, Ramsey advises people to practice good hygiene and don't forget to wash your hands.

There is some good news, and that's about Tamiflu. "The drug we have used for the last 5 years is Tamiflu. It appears to be effective against this particular strain."

Ramsey says there are still flu shots available for those that want them.

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