Utah still awaiting swine flu confirmation from the CDC

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PARK CITY -- Results still aren't back from the CDC in Atlanta on the swine flu tests taken here in Utah. That means the wait continues for at least nine Utahns who are suspected of having the potentially deadly virus.

Health officials expected those results back Friday night. They were anticipating a 24 to 48 hour turnaround from the CDC. Now that it's been that long it could be any time.

Here's what we know:

  • Utah health officials have sent nine probable cases to the CDC in Atlanta for testing.
  • Six of those cases are in Summit County, three of them were new Friday.
  • Two are in Salt Lake County, one of those was new Friday.
  • One case is in the jurisdiction of the Weber-Morgan Health Department.

Executive Director of the Utah Health Department David Sundwall, M.D., said, "That's not a lot. We know what they are, and so far these illnesses are relatively mild."

Results from the CDC, as we're learning, can take several days, longer than anticipated because of backlog.

By early next week, Utah will get its own test kits. Those kits are manufactured by a Utah company that will allow the state to confirm cases within a day.

It works rather simply. A throat or nose swab is placed into a device called GeneSTAT, and within minutes the results show up.

Dr. Mark Rosenfeld, chief science advisor with DNXA explained, "What we're able to do is exactly that same analysis on site in a very short period of time, typically and, in fact, almost always under an hour."

Time is of the essence. Early detection can be more critical than treatment. It can also make a difference in how long or even if a school closes.

Right now, all Park City schools and Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake are closed. They'll be closed Monday and will remain closed for two weeks if the cases are confirmed.

"Now they're recommending, if you do choose to close a school because of a documented case or more, it be for two weeks not one week," Dr. Sundwall said.

Obviously, if those cases are not confirmed, the schools would reopen on Tuesday.

E-mail: corton@ksl.com

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Courtney Orton


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