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Missouri Ramps Down Swine Flu Surveillance


Kansas City, MO – The Missouri Department of Health has ramped down its surveillance of swine flu. There are currently 38 confirmed cases in the state, but as KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, health officials are no longer attempting to keep track of every person that may be infected.

The Missouri Health Department has stopped testing people suspected of having swine flu if their illness is mild. Instead, the department is only testing people if they become hospitalized. Kit Wagar is with the health department and says they're no longer trying to identify every case, now that they know a lot more about the virus.

WAGAR: "We know that the virus is around, but do we really want to expend greater resources to stop something that has not been a major problem?"

Wagar says at this point, the virus has been pretty mild in Missouri, with the exception of one swine-flu related death last month. He says the department's continuing to monitor the overall situation, but running tests are extremely expensive and time-intensive. Kansas has also stopped testing non-hospitalized patients in several areas, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Both states say the change in approach won't affect how doctors care for people who become sick - that's because treatment's the same, regardless of whether someone has swine flu or another flu virus.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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