New tests show 3 swine flu cases in Lake County

2009-05-06T00:00:00Z New tests show 3 swine flu cases in Lake CountyPatrick Guinane, (317) 637-9078

INDIANAPOLIS | State health officials on Tuesday said lab tests have confirmed 12 new cases of H1N1 virus, or swine flu, in Indiana, including three cases in Lake County.

The local cases include a Purdue University Calumet student whom school officials listed as a suspected case Monday and an otherwise unidentified 26-year-old Lake County resident.

"The only thing I know is that it's a 26-year-old person," said Nick Doffin, administrator of the Lake County Health Department. "We don't have any other information than that."

State health officials initially reported a case in Porter County. But Keith Letta, administrator of the Porter County Health Department, said state officials later identified that third region case as a Dyer resident who was tested for the virus at Porter hospital.

Wednesday's announcement brought to 15 the number of confirmed cases of swine flu in Indiana.

"All of this has been expected. We knew that we would see more cases as this went forward," said Indiana State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe. "We continue to see only mild disease."

No additional details were released about the Northwest Indiana residents who have contracted the flu strain.

Across the state line, Illinois health officials reported 82 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu, up from nine cases Monday. The state reported another 40 suspected cases, including a 3-year-old Lansing girl.

The Lansing girl's case still was listed as probable Tuesday on the Cook County Department of Public Health Web site.

Officials linked the spike in cases to a change in testing. Both Illinois and Indiana began conducting confirmation tests at state laboratories last weekend to alleviate a backlog at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monroe said that though the virus is proving less severe than feared, swine flu should not be taken lightly. She said an average of 36,000 people die from influenza during regular flu season each year.

"Flu is always serious," she said. "It's still a new virus. We don't want people to be complacent about this."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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