Schwarzenegger warns against possible outbreak of H1N1 flu virus

0 CommentsPrint E-mail xinhua, September 2, 2009
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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Tuesday that the H1N1 flu virus has the potential to sicken millions of Californians in the months ahead, with as many as one in four Californians getting ill with the H1N1 flu.

Since it was first detected last spring, the virus has continued to spread through the summer, taking the lives of more than 100 Californians, the governor said in a statement.

Schwarzenegger called on Californians to do their part by taking steps to slow the spread of the virus and prepare for the upcoming flu season.

"Each of us should be taking action now to prevent and prepare for the spread of H1N1," said Schwarzenegger. "Businesses need to be prepared that employees will not be in the office and parents need to plan for kids to be home from school. Everyone must do their part to limit the spread of the H1N1 virus."

According to Schwarzenegger, state public health and emergency response officials have been planning for the further escalation of the disease and the rollout of a vaccination program.

This includes expanding surveillance to detect increased pandemic activity, continuing development of clear guidelines for the public, working with local health departments to ensure healthcare facilities can respond to a surge in the need for patient care, and strengthening communication lines with medical providers and the public to get out information.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will continue to work with federal and local partners on a vaccination program in California, the governor said.

"California has been preparing for the possibility of a flu pandemic for years so we stand ready to combat what could be a very severe flu season with the threat of H1N1," said Schwarzenegger. "The state of California is taking H1N1 very seriously, and I urge every Californian to take it seriously too."

He said people can all take important precautions to prevent getting sick or spreading the flu virus including covering their cough, washing their hands frequently and staying home when sick.

He said that the following actions should be taken to help protect against and prevent the spread of germs that cause the flu:

-- Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, throw the tissue in the trash after using it;

-- Wash hands often with soap, water or alcohol-based hand cleaners, especially after coughing or sneezing;

-- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth to prevent germs from spreading;

-- Try to avoid close contact with sick people; and

-- Stay home when sick for seven days after symptoms begin or until becoming symptom-free for 24 hours so as to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.

(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2009)

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