AUSTIN (April 25, 2009)—Gov. Rick Perry Saturday asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 37,430 courses of antiviral medications from the Strategic National Stockpile as a precaution after three cases of swine flu were confirmed in Texas.
The medication will be available for treatment of those with confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu as well as for healthcare providers who may come into contact with the patients, Perry said.
All three of the Texas cases involved high school students from the same school in Guadalupe County.
The first two became ill in early April and on Thursday test results confirmed both had swine flu.
The third student became ill until this past week.
Lab results are pending, Perry said.
There is no apparent direct connection between the first two students and the third, Perry said.
All three have recovered, Perry said.
Also, a 10-year-old California boy traveled to the state through Dallas before he was diagnosed with the strain.
The Department of State Health Services, however, says other cases may have gone undiagnosed.
DSHS has contacted other students from the school since April 11 and has determined that eight students were absent because of flu-like illnesses.
"There is a reasonable chance that the current swine flu situation will not expand," DSHS Commissioner David Lakey said.
"However, we must take prudent steps to ensure the state is prepared if it does.
“In addition to the antiviral medications previously purchased by the state, these additional medications will be available for the state as appropriate to prevent further spread of the virus,” he said.
Symptoms of swine flu, which are similar to those of seasonal flu, include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing, and in some cases runny noses, sore throats, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan says the outbreak involves "an animal strain of the H1N1 virus, and it has pandemic potential."
The CDC says two flu drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, seem effective against the new strain.
Drug-maker Roche says the company is prepared to quickly deploy its drug stockpile if requested.
As many as 68 people may have died of swine flu in Mexico, although the strain has been confirmed in just 20 of the deaths.
More than a thousand others are sick.
Mexico City is suspending all public events for 10 days as officials try to contain the outbreak