Swine flu has not affected Downey

DOWNEY - The recent daily news reports about a swine flu outbreak are a cause for concern for all of us. We collectively have great empathy for those who have already been affected by the H1N1 flu outbreak. Understandably, the City Council and city staff are concerned about the impacts the flu outbreak could have on our residents and the community.For clarification purposes, the Department of Homeland Security has begun using the term 'H1N1' for the flu virus that has brought about the recent concerns. It is important to note this time of year is still considered flu season. There have been no reported cases of food or animal transferred flu virus. At the time of this writing, the duration of the H1N1 flu cycle is unknown. To date, there have been no reported cases of H1N1 flu in the city. There has not been an increase in the number of patients complaining of flu-type symptoms, either. This has been confirmed with the Downey Fire Department and with Downey Regional Medical Center (DRMC). City staff and the fire and police departments have taken the following actions: •Reinforce the importance of standard precautions (protecting themselves from another persons respiratory secretions) •Ensure all personnel are aware of the proper equipment and procedures for treating persons with flu-type symptoms •Reviewed their existing plans for a large scale flu outbreak; and •Confirming city staff's understanding of the importance of limiting exposure to others, if they become ill. The City and the LA County Department of Public Health have worked on contingency plans for a more involved flu outbreak, should the current problem escalate. The Federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the best way to limit the exposure to the H1N1 flu virus is to practice the following standard precautions: •Wash your hands frequently (with soap for 30 seconds or use a hand-sanitizer until your hands are dry) •Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with unwashed hands •If you or a family member is sick, have the affected person stay home from work or school. •Stay away from those who are sick with the flu; and •If you must cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue (then discard it) and •Protect yourself from anyone coughing or sneezing The flu virus can live for a period of time on surfaces touched by infected humans such as door handles in public places. It is wise to wash your hands after contacting such surfaces before touching your eyes, nose, mouth or eating. As this message is being written, the World Health Organization (WHO) has increased the flu alert level to phase 5 (level 6 is a flu pandemic). This issue is changing frequently and interested parties should stay informed by checking the following websites: Center for Disease Control (www.CDC.org) L.A. County Public Health Department (www.lapublichealth.org) Department of Emergency Medical Services (http://ems.dhs.lacounty.gov) Press updates can be found at www.youtube.com/lapublichealth

********** Published: May 1, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 2