CURRENT AS OF May 1, 2009, 10:50 am - Daily press briefing at 3:00 pm

Health officials across the nation are reporting that this outbreak is primarily causing mild symptoms and that most of the illnesses are able to be managed in the same way that seasonal flu is (with appropriate care at home– stay hydrated by drinking lots of liquids and treat fever). In very rare cases illness warranting hospitalization have occurred elsewhere in the nation.

Spokane still has only one probable case of the H1N1 flu, and possible cases of H1N1 swine flu are being reported to local public health authorities today. The Spokane Regional Health District's Health Officer, Dr. Joel McCullough reports that the flu virus is spreading in a manner similar to the seasonal flu, and local cases are expected to occur. Because this virus appears to be spreading very easily between people, as is seen with seasonal influenza, health officials are investigating possible cases and their contacts to identify the scope of the illness.

Persons who are ill with influenza like illness are being tested locally, with positive "quick test" results being sent to the State lab for further testing Health officials in Spokane reported Friday that the majority of (6/7) cases that tested positive for flu in Spokane later tested negative for the H1N1 flu at the state lab. "Quick test" procedures in local health facilities are not as precise as the more sophisticated tests conducted at the state level.

People who believe they may have been exposed to flu should continue to stay at home rather than risk spreading the virus to healthy persons. Reports of potential flu cases at some local schools are being evaluated on an individual basis, and based on the mild symptoms this virus is typically causing, school closures will be unlikely at this point.

Other tips include –

  • Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Although there have been school and event closures in other areas of the state and in Oregon, local health officials have made no such recommendation, based on no known confirmed cases in Spokane County and the mild symptoms exhibited by possible cases. The outbreak continues to be closely-monitored by local health officials and information will be given as the situation changes.  

Visit for updates. Posters, flyers, fact sheets and other materials are available at