Second case of Mexican flu in Belgium

16th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Belgian Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx confirmed the country's first case of swine flu on Wednesday evening. A second case has now also been confirmed.

The first case was a  28 year old man from the city of Ghent. He was on a two-week visit to the United States, where he was in New York and Chicago.

The man returned to Belgium on May 11. Because he was not feeling well he immediately went to the doctor. The doctor sent a sample to the public health authorities who confirmed that it was the A(H1N1) flu virus (otherwise known as 'swine flu').

The patient was taken to the Sint Pieters Hospital in Brussels and has been put in quarantine. "He is getting the necessary care and his clinical status is not critical," says Health Minister Onkelinx.

Marc Van Ranst of the government's special influenza task force said the patient was expected to make a full recovery. He said there was no need for alarm and added that authorities were contacting the people the man was in contact with over the past days.

The case is the first in Belgium after weeks of negative tests on dozens of patients, many of whom had returned from holidays in Mexico.

The second case is a 23 year old man from Antwerp.  He also just returned from a trip to the United States.

Belgium has, like other European Union countries, developed a plan to handle a mass outbreak of the disease and has already launched a widespread information campaign at airports to alert returning travellers about the virus. Authorities say they have enough stockpiles of antiviral medicines to cover a third of Belgium's population of 10 million inhabitants.

Belgium is the 34th country where the disease has been diagnosed, according to AP news agency.

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