April 25, 2009 / 10:26 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Seventh case of swine flu confirmed in California

(Adds quotes, details)

* Woman in latest case is fully recovered

* California health officials expect more cases

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES, April 25 (Reuters) - A seventh case of the swine flu that has killed up to 68 people in Mexico was confirmed in California on Saturday, state health officials said.

The latest case was a 35-year-old woman from Imperial County who reported becoming ill on April 4, California Department of Public Health spokesman Al Lundeen told Reuters.

The woman, who was not identified, was hospitalized for the flu but had recovered fully, Lundeen said. No further details were immediately available about the woman or her condition.

She was diagnosed as part of stepped-up testing in California following the swine flu outbreak that showed signs of spreading as the World Health Organization warned it could become a global epidemic.

All seven of California’s confirmed swine flu cases have been found in San Diego and Imperial counties, which share a border with Mexico.

Four of Mexico’s suspected cases have been reported in Mexicali, which is on the border with California.

State health officials have not ordered any border restrictions but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has advised Californians to take precautions, including avoiding close contact with others, washing hands often and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing.

California’s top health officials have said they expect to find more cases of swine flu, calling the eruption of a new strain puzzling.

“When you start looking more intensely, you are likely to find more cases,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health and the state’s chief epidemiologist.

“We are watching this very closely. It’s largely a mystery. It’s very unusual whenever you have as many as even six cases (of swine flu). That’s very, very rare,” Chavez said.

Schwarzenegger said California had requested extra flu experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was expanding lab testing and the monitoring of animals.

The state has activated its Joint Emergency Operations Center and has been in communication with officials in Mexico. (Editing by Peter Cooney)

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