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Health Officials Confirm: Midwest Couple Has Swine Flu

By Kalyn Belsha in News on Apr 26, 2009 4:15PM

Kansas State's health officer confirmed yesterday that a married Kansas couple has contracted a mild case of swine flu - a virus that has killed 81 people in Mexico and infected at least 1,300 others there.

On April 16 the Kansas man flew to Mexico for a four-day business trip. He became ill after he arrived back in the U.S.; his wife got sick a few days later. Kansas state officials are trying to figure out how many people traveled with the man to Mexico and how many people the couple came into contact with before their diagnosis. The couple has agreed to be isolated until further treatment.

Swine flu is a respiratory illness usually marked by similar symptoms as influenza, including runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This strain of the virus, which is usually found in pigs, is highly contagious among humans and can be spread by coughing and sneezing of infected persons.

The Kansas couple brings the U.S. swine flu count up to 11. Seven cases were confirmed in California, two in Texas and it is believed eight New York students may also have contracted the virus. Four drugs are approved in the U.S. to treat the flu. [The Wichita Eagle, The New York Times]

For a handy Q&A about the virus, check out this comprehensive post by the Tribune.