State News

N.C. confirms seven cases of H1N1 in state

State public health officials said two of the cases are in Onslow County, four in Craven County and one in Carteret County.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — State public health officials said Tuesday afternoon six additional confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu virus, or so-called swine flu, which has infected nearly 1500 people worldwide.

The announcement brings the total to seven. Two of the cases are in Onslow County; four in Craven; and one in Carteret, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said.

Officials have said the Craven-Carteret cases are four people who work together and got sick after one of them traveled to New York City. The fifth is a child of one of the four adults.

The state also added a second confirmed case in Onslow County, where a resident became the first confirmed case over the weekend after his recent travel to Texas. Officials have also suspected that his wife has the virus.

Gov. Beverly Perdue said she hoped by the end of Tuesday that state health officials would be able to perform the primary test for the flu virus in North Carolina, rather than send it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

"We feel really good about the capacity to respond," Perdue said at a Council of State meeting. "If the worst happened, North Carolina is prepared."

Health officials said there is one probable case of swine flu yet to be confirmed - a case in Wake County.

State leaders, along, with local health departments are continuing to monitor the outbreak, DHHS said in a statement.

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 403 confirmed cases of the virus and one death. The six new North Carolina cases were not among them.

A case in Craven County involving the child prompted the state to shut down Arthur Edwards Elementary School in Havelock after a child presented flu symptoms Friday.

Dr. Jeff Engel, the state's public health director, said it was a precaution to allow local officials to put control measures in place.

That is the only school that has been closed in response to the H1N1 flu.

Meanwhile Tuesday, the CDC revised guidelines recommending against closing schools and day cares for suspected or confirmed cases of swine flu. It recommends students and staff sick with flu-like symptoms to stay at home for a minimum of seven days.

Also, as of Tuesday afternoon, the World Health Organization reported 1,490 cases, 822 of which are in Mexico. Twenty-nine of the cases there resulted in deaths.

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