A Douglas County man is one of the first people in the state to be diagnosed with the fast-spreading swine flu virus. A Parker Adventist Hospital …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
A Douglas County man is one of the first people in the state to
be diagnosed with the fast-spreading swine flu virus.
A Parker Adventist Hospital spokeswoman confirmed that a man in
his 40s was treated for the H1N1 flu strain and released April 30.
The man is a baggage handler at Denver International Airport.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also
announced a confirmed case of swine flu in Arapahoe County, but
said the female victim was not admitted to a hospital. The woman
had recently returned from a cruise to Mexico.
Officials could not identify either person because of privacy
laws. The restrictions also preclude hospital personnel from
talking about specific treatments or how a patient might have
contracted the illness.
Earlier in the week, Parker Adventist’s infection-control
preventionist, Aaron Williams, talked about the facility’s
preparedness for the virus, unaware that it would be found in a
patient at the hospital within days.
Dr. Todd Mydler, chief medical director at Parker Adventist
Hospital, spoke about the hospital’s protocols in handling a
patient with a respiratory illness that could be consistent with
Those patients are immediately given a mask and instructed to
wear it through the duration of their hospital stay. The protective
masks have proven effective in preventing the spread of respiratory
illness, Mydler said.
A swab test is then administered to detect the presence of
influenza A or B. If the patient tests positive for influenza A,
doctors are required to send the specimen to state health officials
for further evaluation. State officials then decide whether to send
the sample to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which
determines if it is the H1N1 strain that has killed scores in
Mexico and sickened dozens in the United States.
The World Health Organization raised the influenza pandemic
alert from 4 to 5 this week, meaning all countries should be
vigilant of a global pandemic.
Parker Adventist Hospital takes extra precautions, even if the
illness has not yet been identified as the swine flu. Physicians
determine and address each patient’s emergent needs and decide
whether the person should be hospitalized or released. If they are
admitted, the patient is placed in their own room with a special
airflow management system. Although the hospital has standard
protocols for respiratory illness, it is following more stringent
guidelines because of the existing situation.
“We’re on increased surveillance, as asked of us through our
state counterparts,” Mydler said. “We have to be proactive and
treat [respiratory illness patients] with the potential that they
have the virus.”
Once it is determined that the patient has the H1N1 flu virus,
doctors immediately begin using anti-viral medications, like
Oseltamivir, a generic version of Tamiflu. Family members who might
have been exposed to the illness are not instructed to seek medical
attention unless they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
The patient is discharged “when they no longer have an illness
that’s requiring hospitalization,” Mydler said, adding the ill are
told to promptly call a doctor if symptoms return.
Those known to be carrying swine flu can be infectious for up to
seven days from the onset of symptoms. Doctors encourage those
patients to isolate themselves from the public and stay at home
Health officials are stressing the importance of washing hands
and covering sneezes or coughs that could produce droplets. The
virus can live on a fixed object, such as a door handle, for up to
two hours, Mydler said.
The most important aspect of addressing a highly communicable
virus for a hospital is education, he said.
“We’re trying to provide resources and education to community
members,” the medical director said. “The hospital is working
closely with our sister facilities and state health authorities to
be on the forefront of addressing health concerns.”
For prevention tips and other information about the H1N1 virus,
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.