Newsflash: First Costa Rican case of swine flu identified

April 24, 2009

A 21-year-old Costa Rican woman has become the country´s first case of swine flu and is in stable condition, Costa Rican health authorities said Tuesday morning.

The results from a preliminary test by scientists at the Costa Rican Nutrition and Health Research Institute came up positive for Type A influenza, and were sent for further test confirmation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. city of Atlanta , Georgia .

“We´re considering it the first case but we´re awaiting confirmation” from the CDC, Health Minister María Luisa Avila said during a press conference.

The 21-year-old – the authorities would not disclose her identity – spent 24 hours at a hospital after developing flu symptoms, including coughing, fever and muscle pain, following a trip to Mexico.

She has shown signs of recovery, the authorities said, and does not need to take antiviral medication. Costa Rica possesses some 30,000 doses of influenza medication, which will be offered at hospitals but not over the counter, officials said.

Fellow passengers and the crew from her flight from Mexico will be notified of the 21-year-old´s infection, the authorities said.

“It´s very important to follow (precautionary) measures to avoid the spread of this virus,” said Health Vice Minister Ana Morice.

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