County's 1st probable flu case found in Rye

Health officials announced Friday the first probable case of swine flu in Westchester County, raising concerns among local residents.

According to officials, the patient is a Rye child who first developed flu-like symptoms last Saturday. The child has not been hospitalized and has been recovering at home.

Reports of the first probable case of the H1N1 virus in the county were followed by an upsurge in visits to emergency rooms across Westchester.

"Since people have become more aware of this through the media, we have seen an influx of patients to our emergency department," says Dr. Paul Antonecchia, of St. John's Riverside Hospital in Yonkers.

Antonecchia says there have been nearly 20 percent more emergency room patients, most wanting to be tested for swine flu. He says patients with mild symptoms do not need to rush to the hospital.

"We're at a point in time in the year where allergies are becoming more prevalent, and people may still be manifesting the traditional flu-like symptoms and the common cold," he says.

In the meantime, the World Health Organization increased its tally of confirmed swine flu cases around the world to 331 Friday from 257 Thursday. In the United States, at least 109 cases of the H1N1 virus have been confirmed so far, including 50 in New York.

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