By Ms. Elizabeth Pritchartt (ARNEWS)June 19, 2009
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 22, 2009) -- The Army is currently taking steps to help prevent and stop the spread of the H1N1 virus for Soldiers at home and abroad.
The Army has reported a total of 191 cases of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, as of June 12.
The military is actively pursuing vaccine production for both the regular and swine flu, according to Col. Jonathan Jaffin, director of Heath Policy and Services in the Army's Office of the Surgeon General. Soldiers will be vaccinated as soon as the medicines become available, he said during a Blogger's Roundtable Thursday.
"There has been significant news coverage about the H1N1 virus, and the Army is taking it seriously," Jaffin said. "We want to illustrate why we feel like there is no cause for panic or alarm."
Jaffin went on to state that all segments of the government, as well as international partners, are working together to stop the spread of the flu among members of the military.
"The best treatment for the flu is prevention," Jaffin said.
Steps for prevention include washing hands and limiting contact with infected persons, surfaces and objects like door knobs.
Soldiers who feel symptoms of flu including dizziness, fatigue and fever should report sick call and stay at home, Jaffin said.
"Their very nature is to come in and work when they aren't feeling well. We are reminding them if they have flu symptoms to stay home. They have a strong sense of duty that sometimes interferes with ability to stay home," Jaffin said. "That is one of the main things we emphasize with them."
Soldiers afflicted with the flu can effectively treat symptoms with over-the-counter medication like Tamiflu.
In order to decrease the chances of infection, all Soldiers are being screened for the flu before they travel overseas.
No missions have been impacted by the virus as of yet, officials said.
The DoD is working with the World Heath Organization's Emerging Illness Network and the Global Emerging Infection Surveillance, which is a DoD program, in assisting with the prevention and surveillance of the virus.