Too Many Swine Flu Cases to Keep Track

New concerns over who in San Diego has the swine flu and why doctors are not testing most patients

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A possible outbreak at a local school raises concern about tracking the virus.

    A possible swine flu outbreak at Oak Valley Middle School is raising new concerns about the virus and how it’s being tracked in San Diego County.

    Health officials say only a small number of cases are being documented and for most patients, doctors don't even test for swine flu. But, they say there’s a good reason – there are simply too many cases.

    County health officials are calling the illness at Oak Valley Middle School a possible cluster for the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu. They also say they don't have any idea how many people in San Diego County actually have the virus.

    "No jurisdiction throughout the United States knows how many people have swine flu," Dr. Wilma Wooten said.

    County health officials say the H1N1 virus is too widespread now, and there just isn't enough manpower to keep track of every single case.

    "So, we're only reporting those hospitalized cases and fatal cases of swine flu,"
    Wooten said.

    In other words, Primary Care physicians are only testing high-risk patients whose symptoms are so severe that they have to be hospitalized. Dr. Alan Richberg says it makes sense.

    "Most people in the community have a good immune system most people will not get very sick from the swine flu," he said.

    Still, some say health officials should at least try to keep track of as many cases as possible.

    "It would be nice to know how many people are contracting the H1N1 virus," 4S Ranch resident Sharon Leon said.

    Others say if we knew which areas had the most cases, less people would probably get the virus, because anyone who went into those areas would be more likely to take extra precautions.

    "It's hard to tell how big the outbreak is unless they're keeping track of all the cases," 4S Ranch resident Howard Appel said.

    County health officials say more than 300 people have been hospitalized so far with the H1N1 virus and 23 have died.