Preps Made As Swine Flu Moves Closer To Oklahoma

Tuesday, April 28th 2009, 7:43 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, OK -- While the United States is preparing for a potential pandemic, Tulsa Public Schools have been placed on high alert because of the potential for swine flu coming to Oklahoma.

The World Health Organization says the deadly swine flu has reached "Phase 4". That's just one step short of a full-blown pandemic.

There are no confirmed cases in Oklahoma, but they are popping up in neighboring states.

Our neighbors to the north and south have confirmed cases of swine flu. Fifty cases have now been confirmed in Texas and Kansas along with cases in New York, Ohio and California.

Dozens of school districts in Texas are closed in an effort to contain the outbreak.

Tulsa Public School superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard says the district is addressing the issue head on.

On Tuesday, a letter will be sent home with students explaining swine flu and what precautions parents can take. Dr. Ballard says the district will monitor the situation closely.

"Last night I taped a message that's going out to all of the homes of the students in Tulsa. We're also sending home a letter and asking them to take all the cautionary measures," said Dr. Keith Ballard.

Oklahoma state health officials say they are ready to respond if swine flu shows up in the Sooner state.

In Tulsa, the Tulsa City-County Health Department say health officials are in constant contact with city officials and other state health officials and are closely monitoring local emergency rooms for any unusual patterns.

4/27/2009 Related story: No Swine Flu Cases Confirmed In Oklahoma

Meanwhile, Tulsa doctors say patients are asking questions about swine flu.

"We as physicians need to be aware that the potential is there to have it show up in our office, so we need to watch for the signs of it. If there's a concern, then we test for it," said Dr. John Jennings, with Primary Care Group of Oklahoma.

Even though there have been no reported cases, doctors recommend repeated hand-washing.

They say swine flu symptoms are a lot like the regular flu, but a flu shot won't protect you from this new virus.

More Swine Flu on the Web:

- National Swine Flu Situation Page

- Track Swine Flu Cases Across the Country

- Swine Flu 101: How to Protect Yourself

- Q&A Swine Flu and You

- Flu Fog: Officials Short On Info

- CNN: Swine Flu Explainer