10:51am

Fri August 21, 2009
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State Health Officials Change Policy Concerning Swine Flu

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – (AP) - The Alabama Department of Public Health
is changing its policy as the swine flu virus spreads.
Alabama Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson says Thursday testing
for the H1N1 virus is no longer necessary in most cases because
patients with flu-like symptoms most likely have swine flu.
He says the state lab's limited capacity means that the agency
is restricting testing to hospitalized patients, pregnant women and
certain others. The new policy will allow the agency to more
quickly identify subtypes of the virus.
State health labs have confirmed 652 cases of influenza in the
past four weeks and all of them were the H1N1 strain.
Two deaths in Alabama have been linked to the virus since it was
first detected in April.