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Carroll County Health Officer Larry Leitch said this week that he sees swine flu as an extension of the seasonal flu.

“This is a very, very mild virus so far,” he said Thursday at a Board of County Commissioners discussion in Westminster.

Swine flu has the same symptoms as the seasonal flu, but flu viruses can mutate and change, he said — so there is a potential that swine flu can become worse despite our best intentions with prevention.

“Mankind has not been able to outsmart a virus,” he said.

Leitch’s comments came after health officials discovered eight potential cases in Maryland — four in Baltimore County,  three in Anne Arundel and one in Montgomery. Samples from all eight were tested by
the state and confirmed to be influenza cases — but will require additional testing to determine if they are indeed swine flu cases.

All eight are said to be recovering and required no hospitalization.

Leitch encourages people to be vaccinated with either Tamiflu or Relenza, as both have shown to have a positive effect battling swine flu, he said. However, if you have swine flu, you need to be vaccinated within 48 hours, he said.

The county health department has links to information on swine flu at its Web site at www.carrollcountyhealthdepartment.dhmh.md.gov , and the Carroll County government site also has a link at ccgovernment.carr.org.

The health department also has a free handbook, “Treating Seasonal Flu or Pandemic Flu at Home,” available at both the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster and at the Carroll County Health Department, 290 S. Center St., Westminster.

Parents with questions may call the Carroll County Public Schools Office of Health Services at 410-887-6368, or their doctor.



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