Gov. Jay Nixon
directs public health officials to prepare state for possible bout with new
strain of swine flu
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay
Nixon announced today that Missouri health officials are taking
significant steps to deal with a new strain of swine flu that has prompted
federal officials to declare a nationwide health emergency.
The Governor said that while no case of swine flu
had been confirmed in Missouri, state health officials and the medical community
have been on high alert since Friday because of the contagious nature of the new
flu virus. The Department of Health and Senior Services, headed
by Director Margaret Donnelly, is the lead agency in
coordinating the state’s preparation for possible influenza
Missouri officials have stockpiled enough
antiviral medications to treat more than 600,000 cases of swine flu. Over the
weekend, Gov. Nixon directed state health officials to request Missouri’s share
of federal medical supplies.
In response, federal officials are providing
additional doses of medicine, three million surgical masks to limit the spread
of the virus and three million enhanced medical masks for medical workers and
others who may be repeatedly exposed. These supplies augment significant private
stocks of antiviral medication and other medical supplies in
“Missourians should know that people, plans and
protections are in place to do everything possible to prevent the spread of
swine flu in our state,” Gov. Nixon said.
The virus, which is blamed for killing scores of
people in Mexico, has now sickened people in five U.S. states – California,
Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas. Federal health officials have determined that
the virus is susceptible to two antiviral medications.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior
Services is working closely with local public health agencies and medical
facilities to increase detection of any cases of swine flu in the state. If
cases are found, officials will take steps to limit the spread of the virus. The
state is putting into effect plans and tapping into resources put into place as
part of its pandemic influenza preparedness efforts.
But Gov. Nixon said all Missouri residents could
take steps crucial to halting the spread of the flu.
“The public should know that we all have an
important part to play,” Gov. Nixon said. “There are very
simple but effective measures we all can take to protect ourselves, our families
and our communities from this virus, and I encourage everyone to join the effort
to do just that.”
The Governor said people can help limit the
spread of swine flu by:
Washing hands often with soap and water, especially after
you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or
sneezing. Throw the tissue in the trash after using it.
Trying to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth;
Avoiding close contact with sick people.
Staying home from work or school if you come down with the
flu and limiting your contact with others to keep from infecting them.
The most up-to-date national information can be
found at the CDC’s swine flu Web site, http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/
The State of Missouri and the Department of
Health and Senior Services will update Missourians with more information as it