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Published May 14, 2009, 06:42 AM

What we think: Don’t panic over H1N1 bug

Most of the population now has read or heard about H1N1 virus, also called the swine flu, and we would like to advise readers to stay calm. There’s no need to panic but it makes sense to take the same precautions you would to avoid the flu.

Most of the population now has read or heard about H1N1 virus, also called the swine flu, and we would like to advise readers to stay calm. There’s no need to panic but it makes sense to take the same precautions you would to avoid the flu.

As of Wednesday, there have been 3,352 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus in 45 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three deaths have been reported.

North Dakota is one of the five states without a confirmed case, although that might change soon, with two possible cases from Burleigh and Ward counties being tested. Cases also have been confirmed in neighboring states: Montana has one confirmed case, South Dakota has three and Minnesota has 31. Given that, the virus is bound to make its way here.

But North Dakota is in good shape considering that Wisconsin and Illinois already have a combined total of 1,088 confirmed cases. Alone, they make up nearly a third of Americans who have caught this virus. But neither state has had any deaths.

The CDC has also confirmed that it is safe to eat properly handled pork products and that the disease cannot be spread by food, so don’t worry about your bacon, sausage or pork chops.

People are more likely to catch a regular case of the flu, more than the headline hog that is H1N1. For the 2008-2009 influenza season, 1,549 cases have been reported in North Dakota, compared to two possible H1N1 cases, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

Even more good news: influenza season is nearly over. According to the CDC, February has been the most active month for influenza in the past 26 years. Outbreaks rarely happen in May.

Use the same common-sense practices most people have always used when feeling sick. Wash your hands more often; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough; use disinfectants; and stay home and rest when feeling sick. The North Dakota Department of Health has set up a Web page at www.ndflu.com/swineflu/ if you need more information.

After so many blizzards, followed by floods, a little flu bug is something the people of North Dakota can handle.

(Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board)

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