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Swine flu confirmed in Orange, Riverside counties

Two cases each of swine flu were confirmed in Orange and Riverside counties Sunday, following confirmation a day earlier of the first three Los Angeles County cases of the new strain of influenza.

In a news conference Sunday, the top public health official in Los Angeles County cautioned against panicking, saying that the disease “looks and is acting like the regular, seasonal influenza that we already know.”

Jonathan Fielding, Los Angeles County director of public health, said one of the local cases was contracted by a student at Cal State Long Beach, another by a young adult in central Los Angeles and the third by a young adult in the southeastern part of the county.

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All of those individuals are doing well and have not been hospitalized, Fielding said.

He said he expected that cases of swine flu would at some point be confirmed in all parts of the county. Health officials were continuing to keep a close eye on possible reports of the virus in schools and hospitals, he said.

“You can prevent the spread of this new virus by following the same precautions that you normally follow to avoid getting sick,” Fielding said. He warned parents not to send their children to school if they are sick and said workers who are ill should stay home.

Meanwhile, state prison officials stopped all visitation and other nonessential activities in 33 adult prisons and six youth facilities after they received word of an inmate at Centinela State Prison in Imperial County with a 95% probable case of swine flu. Visits from attorneys and other critical and legally mandated activities will continue, officials said.

The inmate who was diagnosed with the possible virus and his cellmate have been isolated from other prisoners, and the case appears to be mild, officials said.

After the two cases of the disease were confirmed in Riverside County, health officials said that four public schools, including Indio High School, had been closed from April 30 through May 13 as a precaution. No public school closures have been announced in Los Angeles or Orange counties.

Imperial County officials have confirmed seven cases of swine flu and 28 probable cases. Four schools have been closed: Kennedy Gardens Elementary in Calexico; Washington, Sunflower and McKinley Elementary Schools, all in El Centro, and two preschools.

In San Diego County, where the first U.S. swine flu case was discovered, there are 15 confirmed cases.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

Times staff writer Tony Perry contributed to this report.


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