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9 new cases of swine flu found in Manatee

There have been nine new cases of swine flu in Manatee County in the past 10 days, nearly doubling the county’s overall total of confirmed cases, according to a health department report released Friday.

The cases appear unrelated, and all nine people have either recovered or are recovering, said Ronald Cox, Manatee County epidemiologist. The new cases bring the total number of cases in Manatee to 19.

Also Friday, the Sarasota County Health Department reported its second swine flu death in as many days.

The health department said tests confirmed a 47-year-old man’s death at a Sarasota hospital was a result of swine flu. On Thursday, the health department reported the swine flu death of a 22-year-old man. No other details were released on the two victims.

Sarasota has confirmed 11 cases of swine flu and two deaths.

The Manatee County Health Department issued a weekly report Friday detailing the nine new cases. Until recently, the health department informed the public of each swine flu case as it was confirmed. Cox said the quantity of new cases shouldn’t be cause for alarm.

“I wouldn’t say there’s an influx,” Cox said. “The state has been telling us that 90 percent of the flu cases they’re seeing is the swine flu. It’s the dominant strain right now.”

The Centers for Disease Control issued a national swine flu report Friday. It said Florida has reported 2,188 confirmed cases of swine flu, the sixth-most in the United States, and 12 deaths.

Health officials remind people with respiratory illness to stay home. People experiencing coughing, fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and a sore throat, possibly with diarrhea and vomiting, should contact their physician.

Others are advised to avoid close contact with people who are coughing or appear ill; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaners; cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.