Swine flu scare driving up local ER visits

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, April 29, 2009

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The swine flu scare is driving up local ER visits. MCG Health is working to ease fears of an outbreak. Dr. Jim Wilde and his team at the MCG Health emergency room are working overtime to ease fears of a swine flu outbreak.

"We're seeing a large number of panicked parents," said Dr. Wilde.

Dr. Wilde says, "Pump the breaks."

"Don't go rushing into the ER or to your doctor's office," said Dr. Wilde. "Call your doctor and ask for advice. In most cases even if we have proven flu, people do not need any more treatment than what they can do at home."

But is swine flu a game changer? It may be responsible for killing more than 100 people in Mexico.

"Something is just not adding up about Mexico," said Dr. Wilde. "I am suspicious that the death rate is not as high as they're reporting so far."

The deadliest flu outbreak was in 1918. 2 percent of people infected died. Mexico is reporting about 2,000 cases, and 150 deaths. That's more than 5 percent.

"Those numbers are much higher than we've ever seen," said Dr. Wilde. "Which doesn't make a lot of sense.

After reports of 93 cases in 11 states there is only one reported death in United States. Dr. Wilde admits that could change.

"It's a brand new strain that we've never seen before," said Dr. Wilde. "A brand new strain that we've never seen before does have the potential for starting a major worldwide pandemic."

The hospital is continuing selective testing here in Augusta.

"We're not testing everybody who comes across our door," said Dr. Wilde. "If we get positives we're sending those on to the CDC. We want a window into what's going on in the Augusta community."

MCG Health administered several more test Wednesday afternoon. None of those were positive.

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