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Swine flu found in some hospital staff


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POSTED: Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Laboratory tests have confirmed swine flu in several employees at The Queen's Medical Center.

The hospital made the announcement yesterday but declined to say how many cases have occurred within the staff of 3,000 people.

“;There is no evidence of transmission from these infected staff to patients who were under their care,”; according to the brief written statement.

The state earlier announced that the novel H1N1 flu strain has shown up on Molokai. But it's not the public-safety issue that original reports indicated.

State Department of Health laboratory tests this week confirmed the strain in two people, a firefighter and a person in contact with a firefighter. Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said yesterday that tests are being run on samples from a handful of other Molokai residents who have seen a doctor with flu-like symptoms.

The state's incorrect report Monday that 20 Molokai firefighters were afflicted sparked a critical response from Maui County.

“;At no time was our service impaired, crippled or challenged,”; said county spokeswoman Mahina Martin.

Martin said news accounts about an outbreak among half the island's firefighting force of 39 caused anxiety for Molokai residents. It disturbed county officials that the state Health Department didn't deal directly with the county when there was an apparent level of sickness that would affect emergency response, she said.

Okubo said the incorrect information came from a misunderstanding on the part of the Maui district health officer, Dr. Lorrin Pang.

A Molokai fire official “;said they had staff off for 20 manpower days. He interpreted that as 20 people being off sick,”; Okubo said.