No swine flu in Butte—yet

Health officials all geared up for outbreak that hasn’t arrived

The blizzard of press releases coming out of the Butte County Department of Public Health during the past two weeks testifies to the agency’s determination to stay on top of the swine-flu scare.

By April 27, the agency had fully mobilized to confront the H1N1 outbreak, educating the public on proper prophylactics and making sure that suspected cases were quickly tested. By Monday (May 4), the department was reporting that Butte County had seen no H1N1 cases. It noted that 13 specimens had been sent to the state laboratory for testing and eight had come back negative. The results of the other five tests were pending.

As of Wednesday morning, the CN&R’s press deadline, there had been 67 confirmed cases in California; nationwide there were 642 confirmed cases, with two deaths (both in Texas).

Ultimately, the outbreak turned out to be much less dangerous to Americans than initially feared—less dangerous, even, than garden-variety seasonal flu, which kills thousands every year. Still, the county’s health officer, Dr. Mark Lundberg, believes that “we can expect to see a case of the novel H1N1 in Butte County at some point,” according to a press release. He urged people to continue to use preventative measures.