Washington Health Department Concerned But Not Tracking PAX Flu

With the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 Swine Flu coming out of last week's Penny Arcade Expo nearing 100, the Washington State Department of Health told Kotaku that they are concerned, but not actively tracking the cases.

"We are always concerned, but we're not tracking individual cases," said Gordon MacCracken, with the health department's Communications Office.

Penny Arcade Expo organizers told Kotaku earlier this week that there was a confirmed case of the flu at the show. Today PA's Robert Khoo said that number has jumped to nearly 100.

Last week there was an outbreak of the flu at Washington State Univeristy with 2,500 people feeling sick, according to KOMO News.

While MacCracken said it is possible that the outbreak at WSU and the cases reported at PAX are connected, he thinks it is doubtful. The university is located in the other corner of the state, he said.

MacCracken said that the state health department does not track individual cases of Swine Flu until they reach the level of hospitalization or death. But he added that doesn't mean it isn't serious.

"Seasonal flu is serious," he said. "Roughly 36,000 people die each year. [Swine flu] isn't necessarily worse, but that's not to say it isn't serious."

The National Center for Disease Control told Kotaku that don't track individual cases either anymore, leaving that to local doctors and health officials.

The Swine Flu vaccines aren't due to arrive in Washington State until next month, MacCracken said.

"If someone is feeling as though they are coming down with something they should try to stay away from other people and consult their doctor," he said.

People infected with Swine flu may be able to infect others from one day before getting sick to five to seven days after, according to the CDC.

Khoo says that he hopes that people will be mindful next year at PAX and make sure to use the hand sanitizer dispensers located throughout the show.