'Probable' Swine Flu cases in Wake, Onslow

RALEIGH Click here to learn more about Swine Flu

State Health Director Dr. Jeffrey Engel said one case is in Wake County and the person was a traveler - not a resident of the county.

Engel said the person was a business traveler and was not exposed to a lot of people before the illness was discovered. He was not travelling on a commercial airliner, but Engle did not have specifics.

The other person was in Onslow County. Engel said the Onslow County patient recently traveled to Texas.

Engel said samples from both cases have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta for confirmation.

Health officials are also processing samples from dozens of other patients to see if they're positive for the illness. They say none are confirmed at this point.

Engel said the state labs have received 235 samples to date, with 108 coming in on Thursday to be tested. He said 100 cases have tested negative for swine flu.

Thursday, more of the viral fighting medicines Tamiflu and Relenza arrived in North Carolina from the Centers For Disease Control. They'll be added to what the state had stockpiled. We now have almost a million courses of the drugs. A course is ten pills.

Engel has been briefing reporters statewide all week. Thursday, he also briefed state legislators - appearing before the House Health Committee, he was asked question after question. One was how can you distinguish possible Swine Flu from a common cold.

"The flu is more serious illness. The best threshold we can tell the public is that fever," he said.

Engel said a fever of greater than 100-degrees is a tell-tale sign of the flu, Swine or otherwise. If you have a fever, stay home and see a doctor. Your doctor can determine your risk and whether you need to be tested.

The state's top health official also updated legislators about the effort to get the materials - called "reagents" needed to confirm whether the h1n1 virus is present in North Carolina.

Right now, the state lab can only rule out the virus or move a suspect case to probable until the material arrives from the CDC.

"We anticipate receiving those reagents today. And our lab should come up on-line this weekend to confirm cases in Raleigh," said Engel.

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