Swine flu continues spread in Alaska

Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

State public health officials reported 13 new cases of swine flu Monday, including one new case in Juneau among Southeast Alaska's five new ones.

Alaska's first official cases of the H1N1 swine flu was in Fairbanks in May, and with most of the state's early cases concentrated in the Interior. Southeast and the Interior now each have 11 cases, while the Southcentral communities of Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna have a total of 13.

There was also a single case in Homer, for a total of 36 statewide.

The latest Juneau case was a woman in her 60s, who was diagnosed at Bartlett Regional Hospital on June 8.

Two earlier Juneau cases were diagnosed at the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium's Juneau clinic.

The Juneau woman may be the oldest person in the state to come down with the flu. Health officials say those confirmed to have swine flu so far have ranged in age from 7 months to 63 years.

Additional cases were confirmed at other Southeast communities which have already had swine flu cases, including another case in Sitka, Skagway and two more in Haines.

Officials with the Alaska Section of Epidemiology expect to continue to see new cases of H1N1 confirmed in Alaska throughout the summer, said Greg Wilkinson, spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Services.

The 36 confirmed swine flu cases come from a total of 302 samples sent for testing, Wilkinson said.

The state tallies do not include other cases aboard cruise ships which where in Alaska but which were credited to other states.

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