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Swine flu scare blamed on New Orleans

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  • Pathfinder
    Re: Swine flu scare blamed on New Orleans

    I have no idea why South Dakota is blaming their swine flu on the Big Easy. We had only "about" 13 confirmed cases here since the beginning of this pandemic and I am pretty sure that by now , they are all healed.

    We did have several thousands of tourists recently for a festival but I do believe that they were all swine flu free when they came here. So really, common!

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  • Pathfinder
    started a topic Swine flu scare blamed on New Orleans

    Swine flu scare blamed on New Orleans

    Swine flu scare blamed on New Orleans
    by Amber Sandoval-Griffin, The Times-Picayune
    Friday August 07, 2009, 8:20 PM

    Thousands of Lutheran youth groups converged on the Crescent City this summer to help rebuild homes, playgrounds and churches.
    In a swath of America rich with Lutherans, a newspaper account of one unexpected breeding ground for the dreaded swine flu -- New Orleans -- seems cause for alarm.

    Just weeks ago, 37,000 Lutherans invaded the Crescent City, offering huge doses of help to storm-recovery projects even as they assembled for worship.

    "South Dakota teenagers who spent a week in New Orleans at a Lutheran youth gathering brought back more than memories, " the Journal of Rapid City, South Dakota's second-largest city, reported Friday. "They also brought back H1N1 influenza, sometimes referred to as the swine flu."

    But health officials in South Dakota and Louisiana aren't in a froth over the notion of a New Orleans connection. On Friday, they said they see scant evidence of one.

    "I think that article was misleading, " said Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist with the South Dakota Department of Health. "We have cases that are associated with the youth gathering but it didn't add up to 18."

    That's the number of swine flu cases the newspaper said had been found in four South Dakota counties around Rapid City -- just after it noted, without citing numbers, that "there have been confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu from across the state with one common denominator, " that being teenagers who participated in the New Orleans meeting.

    Kightlinger said that only three confirmed cases within the state have any tie to the New Orleans conference.

    He added that there is no way to be sure the students picked up the virus in New Orleans. "Even though they are lab-confirmed cases, we don't go out and make sure New Orleans is the only place they have been, " he said. "It's just a part of their exposure history. It's certainly plausible and likely because you get a big gathering like that where these kids are sleeping in the same hotel rooms and hugging and being in such close quarters -- a virus like that could most certainly spread."

    Statewide, South Dakota has confirmed 74 cases of swine flu since April, Kightlinger said.

    Between April 15 and Aug. 6, there have been 317 confirmed cases of swine flu in Louisiana, with no deaths, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The Louisiana Office of Public Health's Infectious Disease Epidemiology Section reports that transmission of the flu strain continues, but has declined since the peak of the outbreak during the week of April 15-22.

    And Louisiana health officials say the state's swine flu numbers seem modest against the backdrop of 43,771 confirmed and probable cases of H1N1 infection across the country between April 15 and July 24, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control.

    There has been one reported death attributed to swine flu in Mississippi

    The CDC has stated that the actual number of swine flu cases in the United States might top 1 million when undocumented and unreported cases are taken into account.

    Louisiana's state epidemiologist, Raoult Ratard, said Friday that since the swine flu virus is now found in every state, it's possible that anyone associated with the conference could have brought the virus with them from their home state -- including South Dakota.

    "Look at the city and state statistics, it's all over the place, " he said. "It makes a good story to blame one place, but it really makes no sense."