Two Westside residents have tested positive for the swine flu virus, public health officials announced Thursday. They are the first cases to be identified in Merced County.
One victim, a female adult, sought medical attention June 6 and was hospitalized. The other, a male under age 18, was not hospitalized and first sought medical help June 8, the county's public health department said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. The male victim has fully recovered, the statement said.
Officials wouldn't identify the victims by name. They said preliminary lab tests indicate both victims are infected with novel H1N1 flu. Lab specimens have been submitted to a state public health laboratory for final testing and confirmation.
Today the World Health Organization declared the recent swine flu outbreak a pandemic.
John Volanti, the county's public health director, said in a statement Thursday that his department is taking every precaution to prevent further swine flu infections across Merced County.
"Although cases have been low in number and the amount of severe illness has been limited, the health department has remained vigilant in its flu surveillance and investigation activities," Volanti said. "The health department will continue these activities, especially in light of the World Health Organization pandemic flu declaration.”
The Merced County Department of Health has created a Web site dedicated to H1N1 flu, www.co.merced.ca.us/flu. More information is available at www.cdc.gov.