Swine flu is here. The Clatsop County Health and Human Services Department has announced the first confirmed case of H1N1 swine flu in the county.

The middle-age male patient did not require hospitalization and he responded well to a seven-day course of Tamiflu for treatment of symptoms, said Clatsop County Health and Human Services Director Joell Archibald. She said he was very ill by the time he got to an urgent care facility. But she also said it was fortunate that the contagious period of his illness happened during a weekend.

According to the Health Department, there were minimal exposures to other people during the communicability period of the illness, which is one day prior to and seven days following the onset of symptoms.

Health officials couldn't determine how or where he contracted the H1N1 virus. He has not been outside the county. The man's family has been tested for the virus, and all members came up negative.

Archibald said the fact that the man's close family had not contracted the virus shows that precautions - such as covering your nose and mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing, or washing hands often - can prevent the virus from spreading even if you have close contact with the patient.

The man's co-workers have been screened.

"When we're dealing with an employer, it's a complicated situation," Archibald said this morning. "We spoke with (co-workers) in a group setting yesterday. No one seemed excessively concerned or worried."

The man was tested for the virus May 19. Results from the test were returned Thursday from the Oregon Public Health Lab, confirming he did have the virus.

Clatsop County becomes the 11th county in Oregon with a confirmed swine flu case. There have been 116 cases of swine flu confirmed in Oregon.

"The virus is circulating throughout Oregon. We suspected it was in Clatsop County, and this case confirms it," said Margo Lalich, Clatsop County's Public Health program coordinator.

As has been previously noted, the H1N1 flu is spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing by infected people. People infected with the H1N1 swine flu virus may not be symptomatic one to four days following exposure. H1N1 swine influenza symptoms are similar to those for seasonal flu and may include fever greater than 100 degrees F. or 37.8 degrees C.; sore throat; cough; stuffy nose; chills; headache or body aches; fatigue; and in some cases diarrhea and vomiting.

The Oregon Public Health Division advises that when it comes to protecting yourself, your family and others, common sense precautions go a long way in avoiding infection. Use the normal safeguards you would to avoid any respiratory illness:

? Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the garbage after you use it.

? Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.

? Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to avoid spreading germs.

? Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

? If you are ill, please stay home to avoid spreading your illness to others. The current guidance is to remain home for seven days following the onset of symptoms.

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