State health officials say they will learn today if two people suspected of having the swine flu or H-1-N-1 virus are actually infected. There is one confirmed death from the virus in the U.S. and hundreds reported in Mexico.
State epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk said Wednesday that the man and woman suspected in the Iowa cases are close to returning to normal — which follows what’s been seen in other states.
Quinlisk says we are seeing “relatively mild disease” in this country, with people typically feeling like they are coming down with something for a day or two, and then there’s a day or two of typical flu, fever, feeling lousy, with a sore throat and cough.
Quinlisk says people then start recovering and within four or five days are back to normal. While most cases are mild, Quinlisk says the threat has to be taken seriously. Quinlisk says there are people who are getting more seriously ill and that the case in Mexico. She says they don’t understand quite why the Mexico situation is different.
Quinlisk says the best defense against H-1-N-1 is to use good hygiene by washing your hands and if you are sick, stay home from work, and keep sick kids home from school. The state does have a supply of antiviral medication — but Quinlisk says that won’t do anything to prevent the disease.
She says the antivirals are “not the perfect answer” as they will decrease the severity of the illness and the time that you are ill. Quinlisk says the antivirals are not a “magic bullet” that will immediately stop you from becoming ill, but they will help prevent complications.
The state has a hotline available to answer questions about the virus. Call: 800-447-1985 with questions about the disease. More information is also available at the Governor’s website or the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website .