2 Calif. deaths investigated for swine flu links

LOS ANGELES (AP) âÄî The Los Angeles County coroner’s office on Tuesday was investigating the recent deaths of two men for links to swine flu. If confirmed, the cases would be the first swine flu deaths in the United States. “What we have right now is there are a couple cases that are going to be brought in for examination for swine flu, but we have no confirmation that’s what it is at this stage,” coroner’s Capt. John Kades told The Associated Press. Kades released no details on the cases. The Los Angeles Times said both deaths were reported to the coroner’s office on Monday. A Bellflower hospital reported the death of a 33-year-old Long Beach man who was brought in Saturday with symptoms resembling swine flu, coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey told the newspaper. The man was taken to the hospital complaining of shortness of breath and lymphoma, a type of cancer, and doctors later diagnosed him with pneumonia, Harvey said. The other death was a 45-year-old La Mirada man who died April 22 at Coast Plaza Doctor’s Hospital in Norwalk, according to the Times. Doctors said the man died of pneumonia, but the county health department refused to accept the death certificate and referred the case to the coroner’s office, the Times said. Richard Besser, acting director of the federal Centers for Disease Control, said Tuesday at least five people were hospitalized with swine flu in the United States, including three in California. “I fully expect we will see deaths from this infection,” as swine flu cases are investigated, he said. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Tuesday to help California agencies coordinate efforts in response to the outbreak of swine flu. However, he cautioned that “there is no need for alarm.” “We are taking strong and swift action to limit the spread of the virus and to minimize its effects,” Schwarzenegger said at a news conference. California has 11 confirmed cases of swine flu, said Dr. Mark Horton, director of the state Department of Public Health.