Alabama mysterious respiratory illness

Alabama health officials investigating a cluster of respiratory illnesses say the total has increased to 10, but they are closing the investigation.

   State Health Officer Don Williamson said Thursday the cases are unrelated and all have reasonable explanations. He said health officials took extraordinary caution because of two new viruses - one in China and another in the Middle East. But they found no evidence of new or unexpected viruses or bacteria in the cluster of cases in southeast Alabama.

State health officials say a mysterious respiratory illness has left five people hospitalized and two dead in southeast Alabama.

   In a statement, Alabama Department of Public Health spokeswoman Mary McIntyre says seven people have been admitted to hospitals with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Two of the seven have died and McIntyre says the department and the Centers for Disease Control Respiratory Laboratory are analyzing lab tests from all seven.