County confirms two cases of Swine Flu

Bamberg County has recorded its first two cases of the N1H1 Swine Flu Virus. Statewide the virus has infected more than 300 people.

R.N. Veleta Rudnick, Disease Surveillance Response Coordinator for DHEC Region 5, said Monday, “We know that the flu is out there. It’s not going away like our seasonal flu,” Rudnick said. “Bamberg County has two cases that are confirmed. That doesn’t mean that is all you have. That just means we know how many is out there right now. We’re not surprised because we know that it’s just not going away,” Rudnick stressed.

When Bamberg County Disaster Preparedness Director Sharon Hammond was reached for comment, she stated that she was unaware that there were any cases of the virus in the county.

When told by the Advertizer- Herald reporter that DHEC had confirmed two cases, Hammond said that she would make some calls, and she later confirmed that there were two cases of the flu in Bamberg County. “The process is that we rely on DHEC to send us information,” Hammond said, adding that she checked with several of her counter parts in surrounding counties and they too had not received any information on the virus.

According to the DHEC website the first case of the H1N1 Virus was first discovered in South Carolina in April 2009. Since then, DHEC has continued to monitor new cases that have come out. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the H1N1 (Swine Flu) Virus has spread to enough countries to be considered a global pandemic.

In a June 24, 2009 report of global H1N1 cases the World Health Organization stated that there have been 55,867 cases reported so far and 238 deaths from the virus. "We want to keep South Carolina healthy if we can,” Rudnick stated. “What we want people to do is to keep themselves well and to prevent illnesses is to continue taking these simple steps to protect themselves and others from the various flu strains,” she added.

Health officials recommend that citizens take these “good common sense” steps to keep themselves free of infection while the virus runs its course: Wash your hands thoroughly and often, cover your cough with your sleeve and not your hand, because when you cough in your hand you spread germs in that hand when you touch a door knob or another person, stay home if you are sick, and stay away from people that are sick and eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest.