New cases should not cause alarm

April 30, 2009 6:42:03 PM PDT
The number of probable swine flu cases in the Bay Area is rising this morning, with new cases reported in Solano and San Mateo counties, according to health officials.

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People want to know about the spread of this disease and every day there have been reports on each new case that surfaces. Regardless, public health officials in two Bay Area counties say we're all putting too much emphasis on the spread and reaction to that is getting in the way.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the first case found in the city.

"We confirmed those tests a private physician of a young child who is not in school and not in child care," said Mayor Newsom.

The mayor says the child contracted the H1N1 flu in Mexico, but in San Mateo two probable cases came up, with no connection to Mexico.

"She had no travel to Mexico. She had no contact to a case," said San Mateo County health officer Scott Morrow, M.D.

Dr. Morrow says the first case was a 46-year-old woman, "Who was presented with an extremely mild illness to an emergency department in San Mateo County."

The second case a 50-year-old man who lives out of state.

"He also had a mild illness, both of these individuals have recovered," said Dr. Morrow.

And Dr. Morrow called on the media to stop focusing on the spread of the disease and for the public to stop demanding tests.

"This is not helpful for anybody. It's not helpful for us to find mild disease," said Dr. Morrow.

San Francisco's health director, Mitchell Katz, M.D., says it understandable that people are worried by the term "pandemic."

"But in fact swine flu is not acting like something awful it is acting like seasonal influenza, with the overwhelming majority of people recovering quickly symptoms have been very mild," said Dr. Katz.

Thursday morning at San Francisco General Hospital, the head of the pediatric clinic says people wanting to get tests are getting in the way.

"Children who are actually really sick, with other diseases such as poorly controlled asthma, we had an infant with bad diarrhea," said Shannon Thyne, M.D., from SF General Children's Health Center.

Some of those patients are having to wait long hours.

"And then some of them are leaving in frustration because they haven't been seen in a timely manner," said Dr. Thyne.

Talking about the fear this flu has caused, San Francisco General was nice enough to let ABC7 in with cameras, but several other hospitals refused saying they didn't want to be seen as the face of the flu.

Mayor Gavin Newsom partially activated the city's emergency operations center, and the emergency declaration he signed will allow him to coordinate federal funding. He asked reporters to frame those two actions appropriately saying the outbreak itself is not an emergency.

SWINE FLU: Resources, info, links & answers
SWINE FLU: The latest headlines
SWINE FLU: Map of probable Bay Area swine flu cases

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