Gov. Bobby Jindal releases 8 suspected swine flu cases in state

By Amanda Ward - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you're experiencing flu-like symptoms, state officials are asking that you see a doctor right away and don't go to work or school.

"Make sure you do not expose other people," said Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals Alan Levine.

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is currently testing 148 patients for swine flu. They can run 18 tests every four hours. So far, only 8 are Type A Influenza that could possibly test positive for swine flu. Five suspected cases are from Lafayette Parish, and one each from Orleans, St. Martin and St. Tammany parishes.

"We've sent these samples to the Centers for Disease Control. After they do their testing, they will tell us whether this is the swine flu or not," said Governor Bobby Jindal.

The five Lafayette cases are five sixth graders whose illnesses forced the closure of Cathedral Carmel School.

"This started with a parent who cruised to Mexico, came back with symptoms, got over them, spread it to a child who in turn spread it to classmates," said Jindal.

State health officials expect to see more possible cases and likely confirmations as more people get tested.

"The disease is really in the United States without containment. It's going to spread," said Levine.

Those most at risk are people already living with cardiopulmonary diseases, "but, they know that, they've probably been told that by their healthcare providers before. But the difference is there is not a flu shot or a vaccine to protect them against this strain. Not right now," said Jindal.

The good news is antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza are showing positive results in combating this H1N1 virus (swine flu).