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Date: 4/21/2009 

Number: 09-32 

Contact: Al Lundeen or Ken August - (916) 440-7259 


Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), announced today that two cases of swine flu have been reported in California involving a nine-year-old Imperial County girl and a 10-year-old San Diego County boy.  Both children became ill with a unique strain of swine flu that has never been identified in the United States. Neither of the patients was hospitalized and both have fully recovered.

The announcement today follows a report issued today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraging health care providers to be aware of the possibility of swine flu among individuals in the two counties as well as other individuals presenting with the flu who may have been near pigs, including attending fairs or other places where pigs may be displayed.

“Although both of these children have fully recovered, we are investigating the illnesses and working to identify any additional cases,” Horton said.  “The California Department of Public Health will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments to gather as much information as we can about these swine flu cases.”

Preliminary analyses indicate that the viruses from the two patients are swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses.  These viruses are different from the swine flu virus that caused an outbreak of illnesses in 1976.

CDC, the local health departments and CDPH are investigating the sources of exposure. Individuals who have been in contact with the children are being interviewed and tested. Hospitals and providers in the two counties will be given information about the swine flu virus.

CDC receives reports of approximately one human infection with swine influenza virus every one to two years in the United States.  However, since 2005, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported.  The increase could be a result of improved influenza testing in public health laboratories.

Swine flu infections in humans are rare, but are related to close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig production barns and livestock exhibits at fairs.  In the Imperial and San Diego cases, neither patient reported having contact with pigs.

The symptoms of swine flu in humans are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing.

The CDC is investigating the degree to which the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the swine flu viruses.  Although the current influenza season has been mild this year, individuals are encouraged to take the following steps to stop the spread of influenza and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illness to co-workers and friends.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to get rid of most germs and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest and exercise.

Last modified on: 6/8/2009 11:07 AM