Health official: Swine flu could affect up to 1.1 million Kansans during next two years
Topeka — As many as 1.1 million Kansans could be infected with swine flu in the next two years, and waves of cases could strain the state’s healthcare system, the state health officer says.
“While it is not possible to predict exactly what the pandemic virus will do next, recent experience in the Southern Hemisphere and elsewhere suggests that an escalation in cases will occur in the coming months,” State Health Officer Dr. Eberhart-Phillips said in a letter to doctors, hospitals and health officials. Eberhart-Phillips is also director of the division of health for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
“As many as 20 to 40 percent of the population in Kansas (between 550,000 and 1.1 million individuals) can be expected to be infected in the next two years, with many cases compressed into ‘waves’ of infection lasting several weeks,” he said.
Swine flu has spread during winter months in the Southern Hemisphere, and officials agree that the same may occur in the North America as the weather cools.
Swine flu cases have been confirmed in 46 Kansas counties, officials said. Twenty-three people have been hospitalized and one patient died.
Symptoms of swine flu are similar to seasonal flu, including a fever of more than 100 degrees, body aches, coughing, sore throat, respiratory congestion and, in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting.
KDHE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that people who have flu-like symptoms remain isolated until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.