The following is the text of a news release from Gov. Jay Nixon's office, released Wednesday evening, April 29.
JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon today reported that the swine flu (H1N1) virus, having already spread in other states, appears to have reached Missouri. The administration is responding by ensuring that anti-viral medications are being distributed to the affected site and that the case is properly handled.
The first probable case of swine flu in a Missouri resident was discovered Wednesday afternoon during lab tests on specimens sent to the state health lab as part of the state's stepped-up increased efforts to defend against the new strain of flu. Margaret Donnelly, director of Department of Health and Senior Services, state epidemiologist Sarah Patrick, MPH, Ph.D and emerging infections coordinator Eddie Hedrick, BS, MT(ASCP) CIC joined Gov. Nixon to announce the discovery of the probable case.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will test the sample to make a final confirmation that the Missouri case is the swine flu. The time for the CDC to complete these tests is currently averaging about two days.
State officials cautioned that a single case of swine flu was a concern, but not a cause for alarm. Gov. Nixon said the state has a plan to deal with flu outbreaks and local health agencies and state officials are following that plan.
"Since the first case was reported in the U.S., we have prepared for the possibility that the disease would reach Missouri," Nixon said. "Now that a probable case has been found here, we are moving quickly to send anti-viral medications to the community and taking all appropriate steps to treat the problem and prevent its spread."
Gov. Nixon remarked that the state's response plan includes aggressive outreach and notification of all local health agencies, as well as communication between the state epidemiologist and the Centers for Disease Control. Gov. Nixon also reiterated that communication with the public about influenza prevention and treatment would be a critical component of the state's response.
"The most important thing we can do is make Missourians aware of the state's response, of the best practices for avoidance of swine flu and facts about how the disease is treated," Nixon said. "We want everyone to know how to keep themselves healthy and that the effects of a positive test will be controlled," said Gov. Nixon.
Missouri's swine flu case involves a resident of Platte County. Because notification is pending, further information about the patient cannot be released at this time.
Health officials are working to determine who might have been exposed before the patient showed symptoms. Officials will be notifying anyone with whom there was close contact.
The patient will be asked to remain at home until for seven days after symptoms first appeared to ensure the patient is no longer contagious. Typically, the patient's family will also be given instructions in ways to avoid spreading the illness to family members, including proper hand washing techniques and medical care, and family members will be monitored for signs of illness.
People who have been in close contact with the patient will be advised to go home at the earliest sign of illness and to minimize contact in the community to the extent possible.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon