Skip to comments.Florida Hospital Denies (Disney) Swine Flu Case Has Been Confirmed
Posted on 04/28/2009 10:05:05 AM PDT by MindBender26
Posted: 10:41 am EDT April 28, 2009 Updated: 12:48 pm EDT April 28, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Eyewitness News has learned of Orlando's first confirmed case of swine flu, however Florida Hospital is denying the claim, which was made by one of their own officers in an email. According to the chief medical officer for Adventist Health System, which operates Florida Hospital, the case was diagnosed Tuesday morning.
"A case was diagnosed here in Orlando today on a tourist from Mexico who came to Disney attractions two days ago to visit," CMO Loran Hauck wrote in an email obtained by Eyewitness News.
But during an early Tuesday afternoon press conference called by Florida Hospital in regard to Eyewitness News' report, the hospital denies any confirmed cases exist.
"We understand that sometime in the past 24 hours there was an email sent from a Florida Hospital person to another person trying to educate them about how not to get the flu," Dr. Scott Brady of Florida Hospital said during the press conference. "There have been some reports indicating that there was in fact a case of the flu somewhere in the Disney area, but that has not been confirmed at this time."
WFTV reporter Kathi Belich then asked Brady specifically about the email reporting at least one confirmed swine flu case.
"There have been no confirmed cases of swine flu by the CDC in Central Florida," Brady responded.
Belich then pressed Brady on the email from Hauck.
"I have not talked to the chief medical officer about this," Brady said.
No further details have been released, but Eyewitness News is working to learn specifically what days the tourist was at the parks and which park the tourist went to. Details about the tourist, beyond being from Mexico, have not been released.
Eyewitness News contacted the Orange County Health Department late Tuesday morning. They said they were unable to confirm the report.
"There are no confirmed cases in Orange County," said Dr. Kevin Sherin, Orange County health officer.
Sherin also told Eyewitness News he does not know whether local hospitals are able to "subtype" the strain of influenza A they are treating. The Health Department said they are more focused on the bigger picture of public safety and are trying to determine whether any cases are genetically traceable back to Mexico.
Disney told Eyewitness News late Tuesday morning that they have not received any confirmation about a swine flu case involving a guest.
"by the CDC"
CDC confirmation may take day or two.
Put in breaking because original story was there, and it is now questionable.
more: Dr. Kevin Sherin is a very straight shooter!
Officials now say flu in Orlando unconfirmed
FLORIDA TODAY STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Dr. Kevin Sherin from the Orange County Health Department said there has not been any confirmed cases of swine flu in Orlando, FLORIDA TODAY news partner WKMG Local 6 now reports.
Someone who may have visited Mexico and returned to Orlando was tested for swine flu, but the results have not come back from the lab in Jacksonville, Sherin said. The test was sent out Monday night.
Sherin said people who think they have the virus are flooding hospitals, but this is the first case that warranted further testing.
Earlier today, FLORIDA TODAY news partner Tampa Bay’s 10 reported the Orlando case.
The TV station reported that, according to the chief medical officer for Adventist Health System, Loran Hauck, the case was diagnosed Tuesday morning.
“A case was diagnosed here in Orlando today on a tourist from Mexico who came to Disney attractions two days ago to visit,” Hauck wrote in an email obtained by Tampa Bay’s 10.
Florida Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros today warned Floridians to expect the strain of swine flu that has swept Mexico, Europe and parts of the United States to show up in Florida.
While the outbreak has been deadly in Mexico, strains that have reached New York and California are milder and have required only one hospitalization, and that victim had other health problems, Ros said.
“Everything is in good hands,” she said.
State health officials are monitoring ports of entry in a “passive” fashion, asking travelers if they feel ill and investigating further if they report any flu symptoms, which include fever, sore throat, runny nose and muscle aches, Ros said. The federal government has issued a travel warning for Mexico.
She urged people with flu symptoms to stay home. She also advised frequent hand washing and normal precautions like covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
“It’s just common sense,” she said.
Should an outbreak occur, the state is prepared to ask the federal Centers for Disease Control for additional help, she said.
Meanwhile, federal officials urged Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Mexico on Monday, as swine flu cases in the United States crept upward, with 50 cases confirmed so far.
In addition, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters that the Obama administration is treating the swine-flu threat aggressively, with millions of doses of flu-fighting medicines already en route from a federal stockpile to several states, including the five initially affected California, Kansas, New York, Ohio and Texas.
We are proceeding as if we are preparatory to a full pandemic, Napolitano said, shortly after the World Health Organization raised the severity of its pandemic-alert level to four from three on a six-point scale.
Level four means there is sustained human-to-human spread in at least one country in this case, Mexico, where the new influenza virus was first detected. Some 1,600 cases have been reported in Mexico, with a suspected death toll of 149, compared with no deaths in the United States to date and only one hospitalization.
Locally, public health officials said they plan to look for any uptick in flu activity, as the regular flu season winds down, as a warning sign for swine flus presence here.
Although no cases of this new type of influenza have been reported in Florida, Brevard County Health Director Dr. Heidar Heshmati said state and local officials are working closely with medical providers to increase surveillance and testing of patients with suspicious symptoms.
The Brevard School District today sent its 9,000 employees a statement from Heshmatis office, detailing information on swine flu and its prevention including hygiene tips like proper hand-washing.
Heshmati described these as common-sense hygienic measures.
You get any flu from coughing, and then touching your nose and mouth, he said. Good hand-washing is the best protection.
And if you get sick, he added, call ahead for an appointment at a physicians office.
We dont want patients sitting in a waiting room with 20 or 30 other patients getting them infected, Heshmati said.
Theres no difference between flu symptoms caused by any of the influenza viruses, Heshmati said.
So, if somebody has a history of travel and has flu symptoms high fever, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea, among others we are advising them to go to the emergency room or to a clinic for testing, he said.
Maria Alvarado, a supervisor with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office, said customs officials are following normal protocol at Port Canaveral, including isolating anyone appearing to be sick.
Sick passengers, she said, are placed in an isolation room, given a surgical mask, then turned over to medical personnel.
But we havent come across anybody yet, she said.
A number of airlines said they were waiving usual penalties for changing reservations for anyone traveling to, from or through Mexico, but had not canceled flights.
Local hospital spokespeople said they have seen no substantial increase in flu activity as yet, and no increase in individuals thinking they might have swine flu, although several specimens have been sent out to the state laboratory for further evaluation. Results are not expected for several days.
The respiratory disease, which started in Mexico and later spread to the United States and beyond, has raised concerns about its potential for a worldwide spread because of the virus novel genetic makeup a mixture of bird flu genes, pig genes and human genes all in one.
Genetically, this is not something weve ever seen before, said Barry Inman, an epidemiologist with the Brevard County Health Department, describing the sudden viral reshuffling that resulted in the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declaring a public health emergency over the weekend.
Pigs can be mixing vessels for these viruses, creating new variants or strains, Inman said. And that seems to be whats happened.
Even the regular influenza virus, which causes 36,000 deaths in the United States each year, constantly rearranges its genes each season, in order to gain a survival edge.
The genes that change most often produce two surface proteins that enable the virus to slip easily in and out of cells and take over respiratory cells machinery in order to mass-produce.
This chameleon-like capability is why flu vaccines contain different viral strains each year, as scientists try to stay a step ahead of the disease.
Heshmati said the Centers for Disease Control already is working to include the new swine-flu strain in the flu vaccine for next flu season.
However, a more immediate vaccine is unlikely, he said, as these take a lot of time to develop.
For now, individuals with flu must rely on two antiviral drugs, which have proved effective against swine flu if administered within two to three days of the appearance of symptoms, Heshmati said.
Thats why individuals should not wait for their test results, he said.
I will start worrying when it starts becoming apparent that politicians in the know are taking steps to isolate themselves from the public...oh, never mind.
my favorite doctor is Walter Bishop. :)
Disney is often thought of in equal terms with a Mafia organization in it protection of its financial interests.
They will and have for decades do whatever it takes to keep the Disney image squeaky clean.
Disney got to them fast...
Sounds like Florida Hospital is spinning....they never really addressed the email sent from the Chief Medical Officer to the reporter....and claimed the email was on “how not to get the Mexican Flu”.
Living in this area....you can bet if a Mexican with Mexican Flu was walking around Disney....Disney will try to cover it up.
Also, Florida Hospital and Disney have a close working relationship over the years. Florida Hospital runs the hospital at Celebration....Disney’s planned community
I believe the original reports...Orlando is interested in preserving tourist spending.
Thanks for the load of manure, I’m putting in a garden now and every bit helps.
What a pantload. They just want to control the flow of information directly through the head office of the hospital.
It is confirmed really, they just want to wait a bit.
The U.S. should close its border with Mexico. This would be good practice for what will be necessary right after the next 9/11, which is inevitable with Obama in office.
Some say it’s impossible to close the border. Oh yeah?
I didn’t think about the Disney aspect, but no doubt they are involved in covering this up.
“Dr. Kevin Sherin from the Orange County Health Department said there has not been any confirmed cases of swine flu in Orlando, FLORIDA TODAY news partner WKMG Local 6 now reports.”
Uh-huh. CYA for Disney during its busy season.
Why do so many think there is some kind of conspiracy to cover up bad news? The hospital is not controlled by Disney, Universal Studios, the City of Orlando, or anyone else. Of course if we get Obama’s socialized medicine every single word out of every single hospital will be censored by the Thought Police.
I just did the math. Exactly .00000026 percent of the US population has confirmed swine flu. I’m not quite ready to freak out yet.
As if Disney is going to admit it and close down their business! Can you imagine how many would stay away if they thought there was a threat of the swine flu wondering around the park?!
Like Obama getting tested and denying it!
I’m not saying there is or isn’t a case of swine flu associated with Disney Orlando. But I am saying this:
“Confirmed by CDC” takes a couple of days. So both stories could be true. There may be a case, but it hasn’t yet been confirmed by CDC.
As an aside to this story, California is now investigating two deaths to determine whether or not they are linked to swine flu. And, New York is now reporting “hundreds” of children with potential cases. Both of these are preliminary reports, yet to be confirmed.
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