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CDC confirms 1 case of swine flu in Spokane

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed nine cases of swine flu in Washington state, including one in Spokane County.

State Health Secretary Mary Selecky said Tuesday that seven of the confirmed cases are in King County and one is in Snohomish County.

One case previously was confirmed in Kootenai County, a woman in her 60s who recently traveled to Texas.

The CDC has been confirming about 99 percent of the probable cases from other states, so Selecky said she expects most of the 45 probable cases listed by the state, including another in Spokane County, will eventually be confirmed by the CDC.

Selecky said the state will continue to treat every probable case of swine flu as if the person has the virus.

More confirmations are expected daily, and as the state laboratory continues to test samples, more probable cases will undoubtedly be added, Selecky said.

About half of the samples sent in to the state lab have tested positive for seasonal influenza, not swine flu, said Tony Marfin, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases.

Marfin noted that some samples sent to the CDC lab for verification might not test positive for swine flu because the samples could be damaged in transit or by the passage of time.

Dr. Joel McCullough, director of the Spokane Regional Health District, said Tuesday that a man in his 40s was confirmed to have had swine flu. The county’s other probable case, a 5-year-old child of the man, has not been confirmed yet.

“We know the disease is here,” McCullough told a news conference

He said the man has recovered and is no longer considered contagious. Officials have not released other details about him.

Health officials will modify their testing program, to better track changes in the severity of infections, McCullough said.

“We need to follow the infection to ensure it is staying the same or detect as early as possible if there is a change,” he said.

Health officials in King County and Snohomish County could not immediately give details about their confirmed cases.

Marfin said it’s too early to tell if the number of swine flu cases in Washington is growing.

“We hope that this swine influenza will stop being transmitted as the weather becomes better and people spend more time outside,” he said.

Even if swine flu transmission tapers off this spring, it could be back in the fall, but the nation will be ready, Marfin said.

“We will have a vaccine. That will be a much greater benefit than the antivirals,” he said.

The CDC on Tuesday announced that it is no longer recommending that schools close because of swine flu.

A handful of schools that were closed last week because of the flu reopened in Washington state on Tuesday.

Tags: swine flu

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