Santa Barbara County’s sole probable case of swine flu has now been deemed just a regular strain of influenza.
County officials reported the case last week and said that a 2-year-old girl in Santa Maria had possibly contracted the H1N1 virus, known colloquially as swine flu. However, after sending specimens to a California state laboratory, state officials found that the girl did not have the virus that has sickened thousands around the globe.
According to Susan Klein-Rothschild, a public information officer with the Santa Barbara Public Health Department, county officials were glad to announce the 2-year-old did not have swine flu.
“We’re happy this is not an H1N1 flu case,” Klein-Rothschild said. “Influenza is not a big factor in our county at this moment.”
Though the case turned out not to be swine flu, Klein-Rothschild said the probable case had been announced as a precaution to keep county residents informed.
“Everyone’s been concerned about the spread of this preventable illness,” Klein-Rothschild said. “So, when we had a case that was probable we felt responsible to let the community know.”
Since surfacing in April, the H1N1 virus has made nearly 8,000 people sick in 40 countries. In the United States alone, the Center for Disease Control has reported 3,009 American cases, along with nine deaths. A total of 193 cases have been reported in California, including two in Ventura County and nine in San Luis Obispo County.