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More potential flu cases from Manatee being tested

State laboratories are doing preliminary tests on more samples from Manatee County for potential HINI flu virus, Dr. Gladys Branic, director of Manatee County Health Department,confirmed today.

Branic did not know how many samples have gone to state labs because those cultures are not being routed through the health department but sent directly to the state labs.

State labs must send probable cases on to the CDC for further testing, Branic said.

“The state labs do not currently have all reagents necessary for confirmatory testing,” Branic said.

Cultures from two suspect cases from Manatee County sent last week proved to be negative for the H1N1, or swine flu, virus, local health officials reported this morning.

“But it’s just a matter of time before a case does show up here,” Branic said.

Florida now has five confirmed cases: two in Lee County, one in Broward, one in Orange and one in Pinellas, according to the latest release from the Florida Department of Health. Florida’s Surgeon General, Dr, Ana Viamonte Ros, has declared a public health emergency.

Hillsborough County has five probable cases, Palm Beach has two and Miami Dade has three. Alachua, Lee, Indian River, Okeechobee, Charlotte and Clay counties have one probable case each.

At 4 p.m. today, the Centers for Disease Control reported 279 confirmed cases of swine flu in 36 states.

State health officials have set up a toll-free information line on swine flu, (800) 342-3557, open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In Manatee County, health officials are continuing active aggressive surveillance, said Branic.

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