Flu scare hasn’t hit Colorado Springs

While health officials worldwide are mobilizing to respond to the spread of swine flu, people in Colorado Springs seem to be taking the news in stride.

The city’s two hospitals are not seeing increased emergency room visits, with people asking for swine flu tests. And the public health system seems to be holding up under the number of calls asking for more information.

“We haven’t even seen more tests for the regular flu,” said Penrose-St. Francis Health Center spokeswoman Stacey Knott. “I think it’s because we’re at the end of flu season, and secondly, we haven’t had any cases in Colorado yet. Things might change if we do.”

Memorial Health System has had some calls to its health line asking for more specific information about swine flu, said spokesman Chris Valentine.

“The state health dept. has asked all hospitals to test all hospitalized patients with severe respiratory illnesses for swine flu,” he said. “We are in the process of doing that. News of any positive results will be released by the health department. ”

As a response to the spread of swine flu – with cases now reported in New Zealand and Israel, bringing the number of countries with swine flu cases to seven – the Food and drug Administration has issued an order that allows Tamiflu to be used to treat and prevent influenza in children under 1 year old, and to provide alternate dosing recommendations for older children.

The emergency order – which will be revoked at the end of the swine flu emergency, also allows both Tamiflu and Relenza to be used without complying with label requirements. They can be distributed by a broader range of health care workers, including volunteers.