American Academy of Family Physicians Advises Members to Remain Vigilant As H1N1 Influenza Outbreak Develops

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Contact:
Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5223
mmoriarty@aafp.org

LEAWOOD, Kan. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the United States.

In response to this urgent situation, the American Academy of Family Physicians has called on its members to remain vigilant for suspected cases in their communities, stay abreast of updates coming from national and international health agencies, and maintain close contact with their state and local health departments during this evolving situation.

“As community based physicians caring for the entire family, family physicians are on the front line in combating this outbreak of H1N1 influenza,” said AAFP Board Chair Jim King, M.D. “Through surveillance, diagnosis and treatment, family physicians will act to limit the impact of this disease while continuing to provide care for the other health problems of their patients.”

The AAFP will follow developments closely, and will make its member physicians aware of the latest resources as they become available.

The AAFP urges it members to:

  • Become familiar with and act on the clinical guidance for swine flu issued by the CDC which is posted at: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/
  • Keep up to date regarding this rapidly changing situation through the above CDC link and other important sites such as the overall CDC swine flu site at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu(www.cdc.gov), the federal pandemic flu site at www.pandemicflu.gov(www.pandemicflu.gov) and the World Health Organization site at www.who.int/en(www.who.int).
  • Work in both their practices and communities with their state and local health departments to address this growing health problem.
  • Educate their patients and office staff about the steps they can take to lessen the risk of infection.
  • Prepare for dealing with a possible pandemic such as the illness of practice staff, closed schools and other contingencies.

Patients can find the most up-to-date information regarding the prevention and treatment of H1N1 flu from the CDC at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu(www.cdc.gov).

Simple hygiene practices are especially important during communicable disease outbreaks. Patients should be sure to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, wash their hands frequently, and avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Patients living in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, should contact their family physician. A physician will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed. Patients who feel ill should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading illness to others.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).