Officials Confirm Fifth Case Of Swine Flu In San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Officials Confirm Fifth Case Of Swine Flu In San Diego

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Another case of swine flu was confirmed in San Diego County today, bringing the total to five, and state health officials said two more people in the county are likely infected with the virus as well.

Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director of the state's Center for Infectious Diseases, said there are 11 confirmed cases of swine flu in California, including the five in San Diego County, five in adjacent Imperial County and one in Sacramento.

There are also two other probable cases in San Diego, and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were testing samples from those patients, Chavez said.

Most of the swine flu cases were mild, officials said, noting that only two people -- both in Imperial County -- had to be hospitalized, and they both had pre-existing conditions that put them at higher risk.

"So far, the disease has been fairly mild, and like any influenza season, we expect this to last for weeks," said Bonnie Sorensen, chief deputy director of the state Department of Public Health. "As we move along and find out more about this virus, our activities and our responses will change."

Sorensen said state health officials have been planning to combat a threatened pandemic disease for more than a decade.

Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, said said about one-fourth of the federal stockpile of 5 million courses of vaccines targeting the disease have been sent to Sacramento for possible distribution to local jurisdictions, if needed.

"The bottom line is that we are prepared," according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said officials have activated the joint emergency operations center -- a collaborative effort involving the state public health department and the California Emergency Management Agency.

"Public safety is our number one priority," the governor said while attending the Milken Institute's Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

The federal government declared a national public health emergency Sunday, although there have only been about 40 confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States so far, and those cases were reportedly mild. But that's not the case in Mexico, where more than 1,000 people have caught the disease and at least 81 have died from it.

Swine flu is a respiratory illness usually transmitted to humans by pigs, but public health officials are concerned about a possible pandemic because the new strain appears to be spreading from human to human. The illness is characterized by the same type of symptoms associated with seasonal flu.

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