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Five cases of swine flu in Washington Co.

September 03, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- There have been five lab-confirmed cases of swine flu in Washington County since spring, a spokesman for the Washington County Health Department said Thursday.

Rod MacRae said there were two lab-confirmed cases of swine flu in the spring and three more cases over the past few weeks. Washington County Public Schools announced its first confirmed case of swine flu on Monday.

MacRae said the scope of swine flu's prevalence might be greater because flu as a whole often is underreported by doctors who don't test for it and by labs that don't always differentiate swine flu from other flu strains because the treatments for both strains are similar.

H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, accounted for 73 percent of the 1,332 flu specimens that were sent to state labs this year, according to data from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The state reports there have been 166 swine flu hospitalizations and seven swine-flu related deaths as of Tuesday.

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Nationally, there have been 8,843 hospitalizations and 556 deaths associated with swine flu since January, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the CDC is expecting between 45 million and 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine by mid-October, and there are plans for an average of 20 million doses each week thereafter through December. The vaccine would be distributed to states based on population, Skinner said.

MacRae said the county health department did not yet know how many doses it would receive, but had been assured by the CDC it would have enough vaccine to meet demand and would receive the vaccine by mid-October.

The CDC is urging pregnant women, people ages 6 months to 24 years old, people with compromised immune systems and other chronic health conditions, health care workers and emergency medical responders, and people in contact with infants to receive swine flu vaccinations.

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