There are nine suspected swine flu cases in Illinois, and city officials said they expect that number to rise.

There are nine suspected swine flu cases in Illinois, and city officials said they expect that number to rise. “As anticipated, we are now seeing cases of swine flu both in the city and the suburbs,” said Terry Mason, M.D., commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health at a Wednesday news conference. “And we expect these cases to rise in the days, weeks and months ahead. The best thing people can do at this point is not panic and to boost their immune system by drinking water, eating fresh fruits and vegetables.”  The victims in the nine cases range in age from six to 57, and five of the nine suspected cases occurred in Chicago: three lived on the North Side and two on the South Side, Mason added. The other four suspected cases occurred in Cook, Lake, DuPage and Kane counties. Other officials who joined Mason at the news conference included Mayor Richard M. Daley, Gov. Pat Quinn, Ill. Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Damon Arnold, M.D., Ron Huberman, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, John Brooks, Chicago Fire Department commissioner, and Phillip Hampton, director of the city’s 311 Center. Huberman confirmed that a student at Kilmer Elementary School, 6700 N. Greenview Ave., has been hospitalized for suspected swine flu. For now the school has been closed but is expected to reopen Friday, he said. “We have not suspended any school activities or events at other schools and have communicated with all CPS principals how to report any swine flu cases that may occur at their school,” Huberman said. Arnold said city and state officials are coordinating their efforts with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and that Illinois would soon receive medicines and equipment from the federal government to distribute to health facilities statewide. “We will be getting masks, gloves, etc. for health workers to use along with medicines to help treat those infected,” he said. Symptoms for swine flu are similar to a common cold. They include headache, fever, chills, body aches and fatigue. For more information about swine flu, Hampton said call 311 or visit the city’s Web site at ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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