The results are in. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced today that state laboratory testing has ruled out the first probable case of swine flu in the county. On May 11, a two-year-old Santa Maria boy was identified as a possible carrier of the now-famous H1N1 strain; the potential case had been waiting to be confirmed or discredited pending state lab analysis. Final lab results determined that the toddler is in fact ill with influenza type A and not swine-origin influenza virus H1N1.
According to a Public Health Department, the testing process for influenza takes a significant amount of time as it requires several steps to identify and confirm the subtype at a molecular level. As of May 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that nationally there are 5,764 confirmed cases and 9 deaths associated with swine flu with 533 confirmed cases and zero deaths reported in California. Public health officials continue to stress the importance of practicing sound flu prevention techniques as HIN1 and other influenza viruses are still circulating. Individuals with flu-like symptoms are advised to stay home and encouraged to contact their doctor immediately.