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Six swine flu cases confirmed in Tampa Bay area

Six swine flu cases have been confirmed this week in the Tampa Bay area, five involving children in summer camps and another at a day care center, and all have one common denominator.

For the most part, calm ruled at each location.

None of the facilities has been closed, and authorities say each situation is under control. That might be an example of how much the region is educating itself about a disease, also known as the H1N1 virus, that in recent months panicked people all over the world as a potentially catastrophic pandemic.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County school officials said two children in a reading camp at Egypt Lake Elementary School had been infected. While neither was in attendance this week, the district contacted the families of more than 370 students at the camp and an adjoining child care program with automated phone calls and letters, said spokeswoman Linda Cobbe.

"We had some parents that were wide-eyed," said Ginny Cannon, owner and corporate director for Ginny's Little Giants day care center in St. Petersburg, where a child was diagnosed with the disease Monday. "We had some staff call to see if we would be open, but it's otherwise been pretty good."

Parents and staffers were contacted Monday, and bulletins were posted at each entryway. Cannon said a few parents removed their children to take a flu test and returned them later.

The other cases:

• A child attending camp at Gladden Park in St. Petersburg. No other information was available on that case.

• An elementary school-age child in Tarpon Springs at one of the city's summer camps. That child has recovered and has been cleared to rejoin the camp after about a week of quarantine, city spokeswoman Judy Staley said. The camp continues through Friday.

• A teenager at the YMCA of Highpoint in Largo diagnosed last weekend. His status is not known, but the facility has remained open.

"We cleaned above and beyond," said Mandy Griffith, YMCA of the Suncoast spokeswoman.

Not everyone, however, felt comfortable.

Brian Stewart pulled his 8-year-old son, who had been attending the YMCA of Highpoint, out of camp. "I don't want him to get that flu," Stewart said.

Pinellas officials have confirmed 58 cases of swine flu since April.

Times staff writers Rita Farlow, Richard Martin and Tom Marshall contributed to this report.

Twenty-two people have died from swine flu in Florida, state health officials say.

The Health Department released an updated death toll Wednesday, with labs confirming 10 new H1N1 deaths in the past week. Federal health officials have sent testing supplies to the state's four labs, allowing state technicians to test samples without the additional step of sending them to the Centers for Disease Control.

The department reports 2,915 confirmed cases of H1N1 swine flu.

Twenty-two people have died from swine flu in Florida, state health officials say.

The Health Department released an updated death toll Wednesday, with labs confirming 10 new H1N1 deaths in the past week. Federal health officials have sent testing supplies to the state's four labs, allowing state technicians to test samples without the additional step of sending them to the Centers for Disease Control.

The department reports 2,915 confirmed cases of H1N1 swine flu.



Fast facts

What to do

The Pinellas County Health Department has issued the following fact sheet about swine flu in day care and camp settings:

• There is no need to keep a healthy child at home if one child in the classroom has H1N1 flu and is at home recuperating.

• Monitor your child and family members for flu symptoms, including cough, fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If these symptoms develop, stay home for seven days after the start of symptoms or 24 hours after symptoms end to prevent spread of the illness and call your health care provider.

• Have arrangements in place to stay home with your child, or have someone on "standby" who can stay with your child, for at least seven days.

On the Web

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swine flu Web site at cdc.gov/h1n1flu.

Six swine flu cases confirmed in Tampa Bay area 07/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 10:29pm]
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