State health and education officials have coordinated plans for swine flu and urged common-sense precautions, not panic.
Mississippi has yet to see a laboratory confirmed case of swine flu, State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson said at Friday’s press briefing.
He stressed the H1N1 swine flu is likely to arrive in Mississippi sooner rather than later, and that containment of the virus, which has been confirmed in 19 states and 11 countries, is no longer possible.
“The goal is to slow the spread and protect life and health,” Thompson said.
The Mississippi Department of Education has created a swine flu center on its Web site and is asking all schools to review hand-washing and cough etiquette with students.
State Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds called for schools to make sure bathrooms are fully stocked with soap and paper towels and that all classrooms have hand sanitizer available.
“The most important thing we can do right now is focus on good hygiene,” Bounds said at a Friday press briefing.
There are no plans right now to cancel classes or school sporting events, including state tournaments slated for today and next week.
So far, the H1N1 swine flu has not proven any more virulent than seasonal flu, Thompson said. But because it is a new strain, people have no immunity to it, and health officials won’t have their best weapon – a vaccine – for months.
The best guidance right now is for people to be alert, but go about their daily routines. They should wash hands frequently and practice good cough-sneeze etiquette by using a tissue or sleeve to cover instead of their hand.
Michaela Morris/NEMS Daily Journal