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UPDATE: 3 swine flu cases confirmed in Harrison County

Harrison County is home to Mississippi's first three laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 swine flu, the state Department of Health said in a 1 p.m. media briefing.

"Swine flu is now here in Mississippi," said Dr. Ed Thompson, public health officer for the state Department of Health.

An unrelated adult male, an adult female and a female child, who is less than 1 year old, have tested positive for the H1N1 swine flu. The cases were not severe, the department reported, and all three have recovered and are doing well. Officials could not give more specific details about the location of the three within Harrison County.

"These are three different households," Thompson said, adding that no known contact between the three has been identified.

The cases were confirmed May 6 or 7, May 8 and May 9. At least 500 residents across the state have shown up at clinics with flu-like symptoms, the health department said.

Seasonal flu cases are also at a high for this time of year, officials said, with 45 confirmed cases reported.

The Department of Health has set up a flu-line for individuals seeking swine flu information. Call 1-877-222-9FLU (1-877-222-9358). The line is open from 8 a.m to 9 p.m. and will be available at least through the weekend.

"We have no way of knowing whether this is going to continue through the summer," Thompson said.

Residents are urged to stay away from work or school if they are sick or have a fever. State health officials ask that residents continue to use common sense with regards to the illness: wash hands thoroughly, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue and stay clear of people with flu-like symptoms.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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