Could Swine Flu Have Impact on Kentucky Derby?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

With the fear of a Swine Flu pandemic increasing by midweek, some concerns were being raised over this weekend's Kentucky Derby. 

This week thousands of people in town for the Derby will be bringing their germs with them, points out Elizabeth Donatelli of WAVE 3 in Louisville. 

"If somebody has difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in their chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or confusion, that person needs immediate treatment," warned Dr. Adewale Troutman Director of Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

That advice might not be of much comfort to those who will be side by side with thousands of possible germ carriers.

During an outbreak, health officials often warn to stay away from group settings, but say as of now, the Derby is safe, WAVE 3 reports.

"There's nothing that's going to stop folks from going to Derby," Troutman said. "We have nothing in our plans that says people shouldn't go to the Derby or we're going to stop the Derby or anything like that, so if there are any rumors out there they should be totally dismissed."

It's an interesting irony that many will elect to stay home and bet the Kentucky Derby on their computers.  Late last year, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear attempted to seize 141 online gambling domain names, claiming these businesses were cutting into the commonwealth's Derby revenues.  An Appeals Court found in favor of the Web gambling operators, represented by the Interactive Media & Gaming Association (iMEGA).   

"The Kentucky Derby is the single most bet on one day sporting event online," says Payton O'Brien of  "With iPhones and laptops, those in attendance at the Derby would still be able to bet with online gambling sites, many of which offer better odds than that of Churchill Downs."

While the Swine Flu hysteria could affect Derby attendance by the time Saturday rolls around, the online betting sector is not likely to be impacted either way.

The commonwealth is prepared to handle a possible Swine Flu crisis. Kentucky has requested roughly 100,000 anti-viral treatments from a federal stockpile to hold in reserve, and has intensified surveillance in hopes of quickly identifying cases, Public Health Commissioner William Hacker said.

Christopher Costigan, Publisher 

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