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Wake County confirms two more swine flu cases

Posted June 4, 2009

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— Wake County health officials said Thursday that the number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the county has doubled, to four.

Meanwhile, the woman who was the county's first confirmed case said she believes a Cary school was the source of the virus locally.

Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, interim Wake County community health director, said a 39-year-old and an 11-year-old are the latest residents who tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

Tilson said the new cases are unrelated and have no link to Reedy Creek Middle School, which was tied to the first two cases. The 11-year-old attends a school that isn't in session now, she said, declining to identify the school.

Swine flu graphic Web only: Wake H1N1 patient speaks out

On Monday, tests confirmed a 42-year-old mother had contracted swine flu, and public health officials said Wednesday that a Reedy Creek Middle student was the county's second confirmed case of the illness.

"I believe that there have been a lot of kids at the school with the same symptoms over the past few weeks. I just happen to be the first one to get tested," the woman, who asked that her name be withheld, told WRAL News Thursday in a phone interview.

She said she believes she picked up the virus from her son, who is a student at Reedy Creek Middle.

Her son was tested for H1N1 this week after she tested positive for the virus, but his tests came back negative. Public health officials told her he might have already recovered from the illness by then, she said.

He was recently in contact with the Reedy Creek Middle student who tested positive for the virus, she said.

"I believe it is coming from the school, and my concern is that parents were not aware of what was going on," the woman said. "They were continuing to send their kids to school. We had (end-of-grade tests and) exams, and they're wanting to get their kids in for the review dates. But in the meantime, their kids are either spreading it unknowingly or catching it."

Officials said the student is recovering at home and that people who were in close contact with him or her have been alerted to watch for flu-like symptoms.

Principal Lawrence Jackson ordered Reedy Creek Middle staff Wednesday to disinfect the entire school. He said cleaning crews had been working since the first H1N1 case was reported in North Carolina last month to make sure doors and handles in the school were kept clean to limit the spread of germs.

Reedy Creek Middle School Principal, parents believe school is safe

Parents said Thursday that they were confident the school is safe for students.

"I have much confidence in Lawrence Jackson – he's been a great principal – so if he's assured us they've cleaned (the school) ... I'm pretty confident they'll be safe," parent Toi Abbate said.

About 20 percent of students were absent Thursday, which was above normal, Jackson said.

The H1N1 patient said the principal responded promptly to the H1N1 threat, but she still wants parents to be aware of the risks of sending their children to Reedy Creek Middle until the outbreak subsides.

"This (student) is not an isolated case," she said. "If your children are sick or if you're feeling sick, don't even go. Don't send them to school. It's not worth it."

Another parent, who asked to remain anonymous because her son has friends who attend Reedy Creek Middle, said her child got sick with flu-like symptoms 10 days before the confirmed case at Reedy Creek was made public.

"If I'd known he was potentially a case because it was in the community, I could have gotten him Relenza or Tamiflu earlier and prevented him from getting sick," the parent said.

North Carolina has 35 confirmed cases of swine flu, with a dozen reported in the past two days.

In addition to the Wake County student, the new cases include a Johnston County teenager, an officer at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Wayne County and a Cumberland County resident who was diagnosed while traveling out of state.

Tilson said she believes there are likely numerous unreported cases of swine flu locally. Most physicians aren't testing for the H1N1 virus unless a patient is sick enough to be hospitalized or is in a position where an infection could spread rapidly, such as a health care worker or a teacher, she said.

The H1N1 patient said more testing for the virus needs to be done.

"I think it's being downplayed in doctor's offices," she said. "These doctors and these clinics need to have testing supplies."

Officials have confirmed more than 11,000 cases of swine flu across the country, and 17 people have died from the disease in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of swine flu cases worldwide has surpassed 19,000, the World Health Organization reported.

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  • I-stateyourname Jun 5, 2009

    The school with the 11-year-old certainly is in session as it is a year round school. Saying otherwise even if the student was tracked out is less than honest. I'm not advocating any sort of additional panic, but why not give an accurate assesment?

  • sixnitepkg Jun 5, 2009

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE WRAL stop reporting on this!! it is a "tempest in a teacup"!!!
    facts:
    1) H1N1 has been in existence since 1918
    2) "combined DNA" H1N1 first identified at a hog farm IN NEWTON GROVE NC IN 1998!!!
    3) 2002 N.C. had a really bad flu season... coincidence? maybe not, but we'll never know if it was this new H1N1 beause NOT ONE SINGLE case was sent to the CDC!!! it was the flu, we gave 'em tamiflu and SENT THEM HOME!! so we'll NEVER KNOW if it was the "swine flu" back then - but it probably WAS given that:
    a)pigs and humans have near identical immune systems (which is why pig parts are used for skin grafts, heart valve replacements etc.)
    b)notice that not one single case has been someone who has lived here for more than a year? perhaps because EVERYBODY who has lived here for more than a year HAS ALREADY HAD IT!!! c) CDC guidelines for testing stipulate testing ONLY for those who test positive for the flu AND have been outside the US recently!!

  • DangYankee Jun 5, 2009

    "Tilson said the new cases are unrelated and have no link to Reedy Creek Middle School, which was tied to the first two cases. The 11-year-old attends a school that isn't in session now, she said, declining to identify the school." ... "Her son was tested for H1N1 this week after she tested positive for the virus, but his tests came back negative. Public health officials told her he might have already recovered from the illness by then, she said.

    He was recently in contact with the Reedy Creek Middle student who tested positive for the virus, she said."

    I'm confused...

  • CestLaVie Jun 5, 2009

    djofraleigh: I'd be interested in reading what Biden has been saying about all this? I missed his comments. Thanks.

  • Alicat Jun 4, 2009

    Selfish is a good description. No one should go to work or school sick. It doesn't take a genius to understand how germs are spread. I get so annoyed when people show up at work hacking and coughing and spread their stuff with everyone else then the number of people out sick increases and work becomes very stressed. Kids are more apt to spread those bugs too since they are notorious for poor handwashing and not covering sneezes or coughs and lots and lots of contact and sharing.

  • Orange RN Jun 4, 2009

    The important thing to remember is that this IS different than seasonal flu so far. It is affecting younger people, it is occurring in the summer versus the winter, and we do not yet know how serious this strain will be.

    The story has not yet ended, we are in the middle of the outbreak. We have been lucky in NC so far, other communities have had many more cases, but in the US the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still increasing.

    Stay home if sick, get treatment if your symptoms are severe, and prepare for what may be more to come.

    See: http://pandemicflu.gov/plan/individual/index.html

  • Work 4 It Jun 4, 2009

    I am so tired of hearing about this over-hyped nonsense. It is no worse than other strains of the flu. Look at the data. The percentage of deaths related to this strain are less than the common flu strains that have been infecting our communities for years. But people love to create drama.

  • smegma Jun 4, 2009

    don't you love how wral used the word "doubled". everybody panic, it has doubled... to four. gimme a break

  • smegma Jun 4, 2009

    EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bryan Jun 4, 2009

    It's no worse than the regular flu, so what!

    My wife got the flu a few weeks back. Her swine flu test consisted of them asking if she had been around anyone who had been to Mexico.

    I find this hype funny. We're going to spend so much effort on this swine flu that a bunch of people are going to die from the other flu strains!

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