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DOH: Swine flu intensity ebbing

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11/6/2009 © Health News Florida

Amid worries about a shortage of vaccine, there's some good news about H1N1 "swine" flu: The number of counties that have "widespread" flu dropped to three for the week ending Oct. 31, the Florida Department of Health reported Thursday. The previous week there were seven.

The three counties that still have widespread flu are Sarasota, Seminole and Suwannee, said Susan Smith, spokeswoman for DOH. The ones that dropped to the less-intense category -- "localized" -- were Hillsborough, Lee, Marion and Polk.

The number of counties reporting widespread activity has been decling over the past several weeks, DOH reported.

As of the end of October, the report said, 1,008 patients had been hospitalized in Florida with lab-confirmed  H1N1, and 149 have died.

More good news: There's no evidence that the virus has mutated into a more virulent form, as had been feared.

The latest swine flu deaths, DOH reported, were in a man, age 33, in Miami-Dade; a woman, 38, in Broward; a man, 55, in Pinellas; a man, 59, in Polk; a man, 47, in Putnam; a man, 53, in St. Lucie, a woman, 66, in Hillsborough; a woman, 51, in Okaloosa;  and two deaths in Palm Beach County, a 3-year-old girl and a woman, 46. The state does not identify the patients.

DOH reports that its Web site, www.MyFluSafety.com, has had more than 100,000 visits. More than 31,000 calls have come in to the state's flu information line, 1-877-352-3581. 

If you have questions about the vaccine, check out  Sarasota Health News.
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