About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Be on the lookout for swine flu

The Virginia Department of Health tonight asked doctors to think about swine flu when they come across a person with a flu-like illness. This follows the identification of the swine flu virus in patients in California, Texas and Mexico. No cases have been reported in Virginia.

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs. The disease has mutated and also infects humans. The symptoms are similar to the seasonal flu. Typically they include fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and runny nose.

“We are contacting health-care providers in the state alerting them of the situation and asking them to test individuals who have flu-like symptoms and have traveled to affected areas up to seven days before becoming ill,” said Dr. Karen Remley, state health commissioner, in a statement.

The affected areas in the U.S. are San Diego County and Imperial County, Calif. (six cases), and San Antonio, Texas (two cases). All of the affected people have recovered. The disease also has been confirmed in Mexico (seven cases).

This is the CDC’s page on its swine flu investigation:

This is Dr. Remley’s letter to doctors in Virginia: