Florida health officials said Monday they have confirmed 55 cases of swine flu across the state, including eight in Hillsborough County and three in Pinellas.
The number has soared from the 23 confirmed Friday, because all four state Department of Health laboratories have received testing supplies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now can test samples to confirm H1N1 swine flu rather than sending samples to the federal lab in Atlanta. This has cleared a backlog of cases so large that some patients were well on the road to recovery before their illness was confirmed to be swine flu.
Florida counties with the most cases are now Dade and Broward, which each have 10. The new cases in Pinellas were found in a 19-year-old woman and a 13-year-old boy. The new cases in Hillsborough are in a 27-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl.
Why do swine flu patients tend to be older children and young adults? Two theories: Older people may have some "cross immunity" from exposure to previous strains of swine flu. Plus, younger people are more likely to have traveled to Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak, or to have come into contact with those who have.