2 military probable flu cases from Richmond, Columbia counties

Georgia has four more probable cases of novel influenza A H1N1 - eight total - including two military men from Richmond and Columbia counties, state health officials said today.

The state is awaiting confirmation of those cases by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but nearly all previous probable cases have been confirmed as the new virus.

It was still unclear whether the two cases from the Augusta area are actually here or are stationed in Texas because the military appears to be sending its suspected samples to a Texas lab for testing, health officials said. However, one sample originated from a military lab and one sample was from a Texas public health laboratory, said Susan Lance, senior director of the office of protection and safety for the Georgia Division of Public Health. The state is having a hard time getting information about the cases to pass along, she said.

Among the new probable cases reported today were two 13-year-old boys and a 6-year-old boy from Henry County and an 8-year-old boy from Fayette County. A previous confirmed new virus case involved a 13-year-old boy from Henry County but health officials said they did not know if the 13-year-olds all attended the same school. The state has gone back to its previous standards of only providing the county, age and gender of cases. The state will now shift to only testing hospitalized cases because officials assume the virus is traveling or will be present throughout the state, and will now focus on determining whether it is causing more serious disease, Dr. Lance said.

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