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Two L.A. County deaths possibly related to swine flu, coroner says [Updated]

April 28, 2009 |  9:09 am

The Los Angeles County coroner's office is investigating two recent deaths that officials say could be related to the recent global swine flu outbreak. However, no tests have come back positive for the swine flu, and medical examiners have not officially determined what caused the deaths.

[Updated at 2:08 p.m.: The L.A. coroner's office said this afternoon that further testing indicated neither of two flu-related deaths being investigated in Los Angeles County appeared to be linked to the swine flu. Read full story: Coroner doubts 2 men died of swine flu

Updated at 9:30 a.m.: Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said his office would collect specimens from the deceased and send them to the county public health department, which would determine whether either person died from the swine flu. If so, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be notified, Harvey said.]

Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said Bellflower Medical Center reported the death of a 33-year Long Beach resident Monday afternoon from symptoms resembling swine flu.

"It's that diagnosis that needs to be confirmed," Harvey said. "An autopsy will be performed to establish the cause of death."

The man was taken to the hospital Saturday, complaining of shortness of breath and lymphoma. Doctors later diagnosed the patient with pneumonia, Harvey said.

The second case involves a 45-year-old man from La Mirada, whose death was reported Monday to the coroner's office. The man died April 22 at Coast Plaza Doctor's Hospital in Norwalk.

Doctors said the man died of pneumonia but the L.A. County Health Department refused to accept the death certificate signed by the private doctor, Harvey said. The case was then referred to the coroner's office, which will conduct further investigation.

If confirmed, the deaths would be the first reported in the United States from the swine flu.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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Swine flu: complete coverage

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