SF establishes swine flu info hot line


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The department is setting up the flu hot line as the number of probable and confirmed cases has now reached 19, almost double of the 10 cases in the city on June 9.

The hot line is being set up because "we've seen an increase in activity in cases of H1N1, and also members of the public and doctor's offices are calling the health department and asking about the flu, how to care for it, symptoms, things like that," Department of Public Health spokeswoman Eileen Shields said.

Information about the virus will be available through the city's 311 number as a recorded message, and will also allow members of the public to leave a message with questions or concerns, according to Shields.

The H1N1 virus seems to be establishing its own seasonal pattern, and has occurred "in a higher prevalence than we would anticipate," Shields said. "Given that, we want to go back out to the public and remind them how to prevent it."

The department is holding a 1 p.m. news conference today to announce the establishment of the hot line, the latest total of swine flu cases, and information about how to prevent or treat the virus.

The news conference at San Francisco General Hospital will feature Dr. Susan Fernyak, the director of the department's Communicable Disease Control and Prevention division.

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