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Health Officials Say Flu Cases Remain Mild

Local Labs Outfitted for Swine Flu Testing

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Health officials say the region's confirmed cases of swine flu appear not to be too severe. New Jersey's Health Commissioner reports that seven people in her state have mild forms of swine flu and are recovering at home. None were hospitalized.

In New York, city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden reports good news about the cases identified in Queens.

FRIEDEN: Reassuringly, the number of cases at St. Francis has dropped substantially, and the people who were sick are feeling better, and we’ve not identified any cases of severe illness at St. Francis.

REPORTER: , the city says PS 177 in Queens, where a couple of students are believed to have swine flu, will remain closed today while awaiting test results. The school serves mostly children with autism.

Parent Tom Ryan, whose 15 year old daughter is not ill, says he's glad the school is staying closed just to be on the safe side. He says it's sometimes difficult to tell when his daughter is sick.

RYAN: You know, she doesn't speak, she's non verbal, sometimes you don't know how she's feeling. She's not going to tell you how she's feeling anyway so you have to really keep a close eye on it.

REPORTER: Ryan says his daughter also has a seizure disorder, making it difficult to take medications if she has a stomach

In order to act quickly in determining the severity of each case, health officials are working quickly to outfit local laboratories to process swine flu, rather than flying samples to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The move comes after dozens of cases of swine flu, all mild, have been confirmed in the city, with hundreds more cases suspected. City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden says the city hopes to be able to confirm swine flu cases locally by next week.

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