HARRISBURG, Pa. (10/30/09)--With as many as 5.7 million Americans infected with the H1N1 virus between April and late July and many more cases expected, some credit unions are taking precautions. One credit union in Pennsylvania was featured Wednesday on a local television station discussing its flu strategy. Staff at First Capital FCU, West Manchester Township, Pa., were interviewed by Fox 43 WPMT-TV about what it is doing to avoid handling germy money during the flu season. Its employees are wearing latex gloves when they handle cash or pay slips, said the station. The credit union also has made available antibacterial wipes and increased cleaning schedules. Human Resources Manager Linda Thompson told the station she sees how easily germs can spread. "It's on cash, withdrawal slips, everything. Especially at the end of the week when we are dealing with a high amount of transactions. We're taking steps to keep our employees and members healthy." Money is considered a fomite--a material that can hold onto germs and transfer them. The fact that money isn't washed and changes hands frequently make cash especially germy. Even ATMs are covered in germs, according to Dr. Jonathan Schwab of Northampton, Mass. (wwlp.com Oct. 29). He advises washing hands frequently and carrying a small bottle of hand sanitizer when one can't get to a sink. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers used computer models to estimate the number of people who have contracted the swine flu. They don't have an update beyond July 24 (Reuters Oct. 29). They estimated that 1.8 million to 5.7 million Americans had the virus between April and July 23, sending between 9,000 to 20,000 people to the hospital. About 6% of people who were hospitalized with the virus died, researchers said. For information about stopping germs at work and planning for a pandemic, use the resource links.