King County Reports Seven More H1N1 Cases

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Today, another seven probable cases of swine influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, have been identified in King County. This brings the total number of probable swine flu cases in King County to ten. Laboratory samples have been sent to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Public Health - Seattle & King County is awaiting final confirmation.

"In the United States, what we're seeing so far is that the severity of these cases is no more than what would be seen in a typical flu season. At the same time, we have limited experience, so it's important not to draw premature conclusions. It's important that we continue to learn and monitor activity in the community," said Dr. David Fleming, Director & Health Officer for Public Health Seattle & King County.

Public Health is also reporting that school absenteeism in King County is normal for this time of year. In addition, emergency department surveillance at King County hospitals did detect an increase in visits beginning Sunday, April 26th, coinciding with the increased swine flu publicity; however, local hospitals are not reporting an increase in serious illnesses or hospital admissions related to respiratory illness.

The five new probable H1N1 flu cases in King County include two children under 5 years of age; two children between 5-12 years, and a 22-year-old woman. In addition, two elementary school-aged children that are linked to a probable case were classified as suspect cases.

Human cases of swine influenza virus infection also have been identified nationally and internationally.

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Out of an abundance of caution, Public Health has worked jointly with Seattle Public Schools and Federal Way Schools to decide the best course of action is to close the schools involved for seven days. The schools include Madrona K-8, which was closed today and will open again on March 7. Seattle's Aki Kurose Middle School and Stevens Elementary K-8 in Seattle and Woodmont Elementary in Federal Way will close tomorrow, and these schools are scheduled to re-open on May 8.

The CDC has determined that the swine flu virus H1N1 is contagious and is spreading from human to human. Symptoms of swine flu include a fever of more than 100°F, coughing, joint aches, severe headache and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

When should you seek medical care?

Use the same judgment you would use during a typical flu season. Do not seek medical care if you are not ill or have mild symptoms for which you would not ordinarily seek medical care. If you have more severe symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or are feeling more seriously ill, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and if you need to be evaluated.

Public Health will continue to work with health care providers to test flu patients who develop severe illness or are associated with clusters, but does not currently recommend testing for all flu patients.

If the following flu-like symptoms are mild, medical attention is not typically required: runny nose or nasal stuffiness; low-grade fever for less than 3 days; mild headache; body aches and mild stomach upset.

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