West Texas Health Officials Still Preparing For More Swine Flu Cases

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - This summer, health officials across West Texas are still watching for signs of the Swine Flu. Just this week, a second case was confirmed in Ector County. Now officals are warning the public to be cautious while gearing up for this fall's flu season.    

"You never know. H1N1 is all over the world," Celestino Garcia, with the Midland Health Department explained. "We have some cases in Texas. So, we just have to be careful. We're planning on the worse case senario."

It may not be in all the headlines like it was several months ago, but for many, catching the swine flu is still a scary and real possibility. It's why Celestino Garcia with the Midland Health Department said he and others here in the Basin are still watching the situation carefully.

"I think that we did a good job, but it was hard because H1N1 was sort of a moving target," Garcia said. "It was very fluid and changing everyday. So, I think the staff and most of the people in the Permian Basin and the state did a good job as far as containing it and educating our pubic.

With another case now reported in Ector County this week, that brings the total to two. Brewster County now has a total of four. One confirmed case has been reported each in Andrews and Pecos Counties. Garcia said conditions could get worse in the fall flu season, which is why he said he and others are gearing up just in case of an outbreak.

"We also talked about the possibility of course of three vaccines coming around," Garcia added.

Doctors around the country are still working to create a vaccine specifically for swine flu. They are expecting to have one this fall. In the meantime, Garcia said this summer, the message is all about the basics.

"I highly encourage our citizens, our children to get vaccinated," Garcia explained. "Stay current, and wash your hands to prevent it. Cover your mouth. Hopefully, we can minimize it."

Garcia also advised if you ever get sick and see flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, dry cough, chills, don't go to work. He said it's a good idea no matter what kind of flu it is.