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Pinellas County man, 24, has swine flu

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County has its first confirmed swine flu case, according to the state health department.

A test sample from an 24-year-old man was sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta on Friday. The man recently traveled to Mexico, according to Pinellas County Health Department spokeswoman Jeannine Mallory. He did not require hospitalization and those who have been in contact with him have been notified.

Mallory would not say what area of the county the man is from and said, "It's not really relevant."

Hillsborough County has at least five suspected cases that have also been sent to the CDC and three schools have been closed as a result. Hillsborough health department director Dr. Doug Holt said the virus samples from people with flu symptoms are sent to the CDC when they don't match known viruses.

This doesn't necessarily mean the cases are swine flu, he said, but about 95 percent of these referrals are coming back as such.

Florida now has five confirmed cases, according to the state Department of Health.

Gov. Charlie Crist was briefed this morning by state Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros.

"The good news is, as far as we're aware, none of those cases are that serious," he said in an interview. "The symptoms are pretty mild and that's good for Florida. We're staying on top of it. We're remaining vigilant."

Staff writer Alex Leary contributed to this report. Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

Pinellas County man, 24, has swine flu 05/04/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:40am]

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