Weekly flu update

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With the starting of the school year, there have been some predictable "uptick" of flu-like illnesses among the area's student population, noted Harvey Crowder, administrator for Walla Walla County Public Health Department.

Absentee rates indicate a fair number of still-sporadic cases, especially at Pioneer Middle School this week, he said. "We expect that to increase as school really gets into session."

Across the board, school staff is doing a "great job of screening...sending out good information," Crowder said. "Right in the middle of all their other duties."

As well, urgent-care clinic and medical emergency departments have seen an increase in patient visits from those with flu symptoms, he added.

Walla Walla has had another confirmed case of H1N1 influenza in a 43-year-old patient who was hospitalized here but is not a local resident -- that brings the county number of confirmed swine flu victims to two, the administrator said.

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