DoyleandSwines_LK

Gov. Jim Doyle declares a public health emergency in Wisconsin Thursday in response to swine flu.[/media-credit]

Gov. Jim Doyle signed an executive order Thursday declaring a public health emergency in Wisconsin as the result of the swine flu outbreak.

Currently, there are five probable cases of the virus in the state, Doyle said, although the state is still waiting on a final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control for the cases.

State Health Officer Seth Foldy said the five cases are from various locations around the state. According to Foldy, two of the probable infected individuals — a middle-aged adult and school-aged child — are from Milwaukee.

A middle-aged individual from Adams County is also likely infected, as well as two young adults from Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties.

“We have identified travel links in three of the five cases,” Foldy said, adding the individuals traveled to areas where the virus is known to have been affecting people. “Over 121 tests for what we consider the most suspicious situations [have been conducted]. …. Only five to date have tested probable cases, so that means most of these tests we’re sending are coming back very reassuring.”

According to the CDC, there are 109 confirmed cases of swine flu in 11 states nationwide.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert from a level four to a level five — one step below the highest level — in an effort to encourage governments to take immediate action against the virus because it can spread rapidly, Doyle said.

Presently, the state government does not have any plans to cancel any public events or gatherings, according to Doyle, although he added he is monitoring the situation on an “hour-by-hour” basis.

State and national government officials have not advised citizens to alter their daily lives in anyway, saying only that individuals should avoid unnecessary travel to Mexico and stay home if feeling ill.

However, Vice Pres-ident Joe Biden told the “Today” show differently during an interview Thursday morning.

According to The Associated Press, Biden was asked what advice he would give a family member who was thinking about flying to Mexico.

“I would tell members of my family — and I have — I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said. “It’s not that it’s going to Mexico — it’s you’re in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft.”

Biden also said he would not recommend traveling on subways either.

Shortly after Bid-en’s interview, his spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander, sent out a statement clarifying the vice president’s remarks.

“The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the administration is giving to all Americans: that they should avoid all unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways,” Alex-ander said.