INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Health officials say they have investigated four suspected casesof the flu virus in Marion County.
The mayor of Indianapolis and the county's top healthofficial say the consensus is that Marion County will see cases ofswine flu. But they don't want people to be alarmed.
"We are a community that is used to coming together," saidMayor Greg Ballard.
The mayor and Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of the Marion County HealthDepartment don't want people to panic, but to be ready.
"We ask the public to be aware and to remain calm," saidBallard.
To answer the public's questions about the flu, the countyhas set up a Swine Flu Help Line (317) 221-3366. By mid-day,the nurses and other health educators staffing the hot line hadreceived 500 calls.
"The biggest calls have come from people wondering whether ornot they should eat pork," said Collette DuValle of the MarionCounty Health Department. "There's also been concerns from thosewho might be doing some traveling, and overall just somereassurance in talking with health officials about symptoms."
There is now some measurable cause for concern in MarionCounty. Health officials have investigated four possible cases.
"Two of them, which we just heard today, have been provennegative," said Dr. Caine. "But we have two others that are in thepipeline at CDC that we consider probable and waiting to hear."
Dr. Caine and Mayor Ballard say the city is concerned aboutthe huge events coming up in May, the Mini-Marathon and theIndianapolis 500 that could provide extra opportunities for thevirus to spread.
"I think we're going to get over 300,000 individuals comingto the city," said Dr. Caine. "The mayor and the city emergencyoperations - we're looking at this very, very carefully."
Dr. Caine said that she and the mayor have the authority torequire quarantines of anyone who does indeed have the virus. BothDr. Caine and the mayor re-iterated the importance of hand washingas a means of preventing the spread of the virus.
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