DES MOINES — State officials have identified a third probable case of the swine flu, or H1N1 virus, in Iowa, this time in Marshall County, and have ordered state troopers to guard the state’s supply of anti-virals and help distribute them.
Officials are still waiting for final test results from the federal Centers for Disease Control on what they say are two probable cases in Des Moines and Clinton counties.
Marshall County is in central Iowa while Des Moines County is in southeast Iowa.
Gov. Chet Culver said Friday the state will proceed as if the cases are positive.
“This is not a time for alarm. Rather, it’s a time to remain informed, aware and to exercise the basic steps to help prevent catching or spreading of this flu,” Culver said.
If any of the cases turn out to be positive, Culver has said he will implement a state public health disaster declaration in Iowa.
“This declaration is a reasonable precautionary measure with one goal in mind: keeping Iowans safe,” Culver said.
The disaster declaration would allow state officials to buy and distribute anti-virals and other medical supplies and deploy public health response teams. It also allows the state to take measures to stop the spread of disease, including isolation or quarantine of infected people.
Culver said more than 90 percent of probable cases sent to the CDC for testing have come back positive.
Testing at the CDC’s national laboratory is taking longer than state officials had expected because of a backlog of cases from around the country.
In Illinois, 51 probable cases have been reported as of Friday, with three confirmed cases. Two of the confirmed cases are in Chicago and one in DuPage County in the Chicago area.