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Confirmed cases of A/H1N1 flu rise to 57 in Louisiana
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13:50, May 16, 2009

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Ten more cases of A/H1N1 flu have been confirmed in Louisiana in the past two days, bringing the total number of the cases to 57 in the southern U.S. state, local health officials said on Friday.

Three cases were confirmed on Friday and seven were confirmed on Thursday, said a spokesman with the State Department of Health and Hospitals.

The spokesman would not give any additional details, including whether the cases involved children, but he noted that the A/H1N1 flu does not appear to be spreading rapidly within the state of Louisiana.

"Just because there are newly confirmed cases doesn't mean they currently have the (A/H1N1) flu or that they're infectious," he said.

He added that about 2,800 specimens have been sent to the state lab for testing.

All of the confirmed cases in the state started to have symptoms of the flu on or before May 3, he said, adding that all the patients have been treated.

Two of the three cases confirmed on Friday were middle school students, according to a statement by St. Charles Parish Public Schools.

The students were confirmed with the A/H1N1 virus, but are now symptom-free, school authorities said Friday.

Meanwhile, experts say that many people suffering from the A/H1N1 flu, even those who are severely ill, do not have fever, an odd feature of the new virus that could increase the difficulty of controlling the epidemic.

About a third of the patients at two hospitals in Mexico City had no fever when screened, said Dr. Richard P. Wenzel, former president of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, who consulted for four days last week in Mexico.

He said this unusual feature of A/H1N1 flu complicates the understanding of the new virus.

"It surprised me and my Mexican colleagues, because the textbooks say that in an influenza outbreak the predictive value of fever and cough is 90 percent," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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