Sacramento scientists join race to decode new swine flu strain

Jacky Bruglia is on the front lines in the battle against a baffling new strain of influenza, and she takes an odd delight in being part of what she calls "something big."

Bruglia is a microbiologist at Sacramento County's Public Health Laboratory, one of the first facilities in the United States to handle confirmed cases of a swine flu that has killed scores in Mexico, sickened dozens in the United States and is stoking concern among health officials scrambling to better understand the virus.

"It's pretty exciting to be part of something big, to do our part," Bruglia said.

Health departments have recently been preparing for a pandemic, a biological attack or another health emergency.

Federal and state officials insisted Tuesday they are ready – a sentiment echoed by local health officials.

Dr. Anthony Gonzalez, chief of the county health lab, likens himself to a firefighter – prepared for crisis.

"As reports spread across the country, what we're seeing now is a picture emerging that shows how this virus is spreading. And all of that starts with the first piece of laboratory data," Gonzalez said.

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