Health district: No new swine flu cases in midstate

Now that the new school year is under way, Middle Georgia health officials are getting calls asking if there have been outbreaks of swine flu.

So far, there have been no new confirmed cases in Middle Georgia, said Jennifer Jones, the public information officer for the North Central Health District.

“We’ve talked to almost every school system (in the area) and heard the rumors,” she said.

To date, seven confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in the district. Still, that total “doesn’t give a very good indication of how many people may be sick,” she said. The report indicates only the number of people who have been treated for the disease, not the number who actually have it.

“We’re never going to get those numbers,” she said. “We’re never going to have a good, true count” because of the way the reporting is done.

Some schools are taking the initiative to communicate with parents. A letter went home Friday from Howard Middle School in Macon, for example, acknowledging one unconfirmed report of a case at the school and urging parents not to send children to school who are running a fever.

The health district has shared sample letters that school systems can send home to parents and posters on the importance of hand washing and other good hygiene measures.

“Everybody is very concerned about how to prevent the spread,” Jones said.

The swine flu is considered to be a pandemic, meaning that the flu strain is considered to be everywhere.