Is there local concern about the swine flu?
There are more than 100 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, in the United States. While there have been no confirmed cases in North Carolina, there are two probable cases: one in Wake County and one in Onslow County. People NewsChannel 3 spoke with said they are not too concerned about the virus right now, but one look at drug store shelves proves otherwise.
It has become a familiar scene in Mexico; almost everyone wearing face masks to protect themselves from the H1N1 flu. But even here in Wilmington, in a state where there are no confirmed cases, face masks have flown off the shelves. “I was surprised just because I’m not sure how effective they are at preventing someone from catching a virus,” said Will Brown of Winter Park Drug Store.
Brown said the masks are out of stock and it looks like it will stay that way – his wholesale supplier is even out. Several other stores are also sold out. They are putting other flu fighting supplies front and center.
“I haven’t bought any because while the threat may be real in some places, I don’t feel like it’s been local enough for me to go out and buy anything yet,” said Matthew Adams.
Donna Crowe said, “I’m not concerned at all about the flu. I believe the health department and everyone’s taking care of it.”
So who is buying these supplies?
“The few that I’ve talked to said they were traveling either out of the country or just going through an airport or out of the state,” Brown said.
Stores are also stocking up on the antiviral drug Tamiflu. Brown had run out, but received a new shipment Thursday. “We’re just getting a few questions from doctor’s offices just to see if we have the Tamiflu and we’ve got plenty in stock now and hopefully it’ll last.”
At this point, many people here are just going to wait and see. “If it comes here, you hear of one maybe two cases, I might start stocking up on some healthy supplies of hand sanitizers – maybe a couple face masks,” said Sandra Gauthier.
As for the two probable cases in our state; the Wake County case was a visitor to North Carolina, and the Onslow County patient has been put in isolation pending test results.
Story summary image
More: continued here