- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 16, 2009

More regular flu cases now

U.S. health officials are seeing a surprisingly high number of cases of ordinary, seasonal flu at a time when the flu season typically peters out.

About half of the people recently testing positive for the flu have the new swine flu virus, Dr. Daniel Jernigan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said Friday.

The rest have seasonal flu, which is still causing widespread or regional illness in about two dozen states, “something that we would not expect at this time,” he said.

In the U.S., there are now more than 4,700 probable and confirmed cases of swine flu and 173 hospitalizations and four deaths, Dr. Jernigan said. The tally doesn’t include a fifth death that Texas officials said Friday was due to swine flu.

The fifth U.S. death attributed to swine flu was reported in a 33-year-old Texas man who died May 5 or May 6 after becoming sick a few days earlier. Dr. William Burgin Jr., of the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Health District said the man had medical conditions, including heart problems, that made it tougher for him to fight a viral illness. The victim’s name was not released.

It was the third swine flu death in Texas. Other deaths occurred in Washington and Arizona.

In New York City, three public schools in the borough of Queens were closed after hundreds of children were sent home sick this week, and a city official said Friday that three more schools would be shut down after students developed flu symptoms. At one school, there were five confirmed cases of swine flu, including a 55-year-old assistant principal hospitalized in critical condition.

Ex-N.C. governor’s air travel probed

RALEIGH, N.C. | The FBI wants records involving the air travel of former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley and his family.

The FBI subpoenaed the state Highway Patrol on Friday. The subpoena seeks information about Mr. Easley’s travel on privately owned aircraft while he was in office and documents regarding who paid for the trips.

The subpoena is part of a grand jury investigation but does not reveal the specific nature of the probe.

The state Board of Elections is investigating at least 25 trips that Mr. Easley took on private jets after the News & Observer of Raleigh reported that he didn’t pay for some flights.

The Democrat stepped down earlier this year because term limits prevented him from running again. He is now a partner at a law firm.

Murder suspect defends his behavior

JOLIET, Ill. | Former suburban Chicago police Sgt. Drew Peterson defended his apparently cavalier attitude about his arrest on charges of killing his third wife, saying that acting in a way people might consider more appropriate is “not me.”

“There’s no book written on how I’m supposed to act,” Mr. Peterson told NBC’s Matt Lauer during an interview aired on Friday’s “Today” show.

Mr. Peterson called his handcuffs “bling” and his red jail jumpsuit “spiffy” as he was led into court last week. Mr. Lauer asked Mr. Peterson whether he worries that such remarks will make him seem unsympathetic.

“Would it be better if I hid my head down and tried to hide my face and hunched and had tears in my eyes? I mean, no, that’s just not me,” he said by phone from the jail in Will County, where he’s been held since his May 7 arrest in the slaying of Kathleen Savio.

Mr. Peterson is also a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife. He reiterated to Mr. Lauer that he had nothing to do with either the disappearance of Stacy Peterson or Mrs. Savio’s 2004 death. Mr. Peterson maintains that he thinks Stacy Peterson left him for another man.

Mr. Peterson is being held on a $20 million bond.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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