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Swine Flu Claims 5 More Victims

City News Service contributed to the information in this story.

A scientist cuts the end of a human saliva sample in a small-diameter glass tube during the analysis for a A(H1N1) virus, the influenza A(H1N1), commonly being referred to as 'swine flu', on August 14, 2009.
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Above: A scientist cuts the end of a human saliva sample in a small-diameter glass tube during the analysis for a A(H1N1) virus, the influenza A(H1N1), commonly being referred to as 'swine flu', on August 14, 2009.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency said Wednesday that five more people in San Diego County have died with symptoms that could be linked to the swine flu, bringing the total number of local deaths to 52.

The deaths of a 54-year-old woman, a 54-year-old man, a 36-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl have all been linked to the swine flu outbreak, officials announced today.

According to the HHSA, all five also had underlying medical conditions.

Though they all tested positive for H1N1, officials said the virus might not have been the cause of death in all cases.

In San Diego County, there have been 52 deaths and 713 people hospitalized with the virus, health officials said. Forty-five of the victims were residents of San Diego County while seven people were visiting.

Spokesperson for the Center for Disease Control Tom Skinner said Wednesday that people should prepare for another wave of swine flu cases after the New Year.

"While we've continued to see a decline in activity across the country, we're still at levels way above where we would expect to be during this time of year," Skinner said. "The bottom line is that, unfortunately, there's still a lot of flu out there."

Skinner said now is the time to get vaccinated with more than 85 million vaccines allocated and more on the way.

"We have a window of opportunity right now to get vaccinated while there are lower levels of activities before the next wave," Skinner said.

San Diego County health officials currently have limited doses of the H1N1 vaccine injections and the H1N1 nasal mist vaccine. The vaccine is being distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at seven different sites. Priority is being given to children, adults with chronic medical conditions, people who care for infants and health care workers.

Vaccines are available at seven locations, and an additional 23,000 doses will be distributed at school-based clinics, officials said.

For more information about swine flu, call 211 or visit sdcounty.ca.gov and the Center for Disease Control's H1N1 Web page.

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