Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pentagon Discuses Suspected Swine Flu Case at California Marine Base

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2009 -- The Marine Corps commandant today confirmed a suspected case of what the U.S. Homeland Security Council now is calling H1N1 flu, but has been known as “swine flu,” at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

A male Marine reported to a medical clinic on base over the weekend complaining of flu-like symptoms. Initial test results indicate the H1N1 virus, and the service is waiting for further results from testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway said.

The Marine, along with his roommate, are quarantined in the barracks, Conway said, adding that the roommate has shown no symptoms and the infected Marine is recovering.

“He’s doing fine,” the general said. “He’s up and about. He said he feels pretty good. The doctors tell us that at this point, there appears to be no threat to him in terms of loss of life.”

Doctors at the base also identified and restricted the activities of 37 other Marines who may have had contact with the infected Marine. The 37 are not officially quarantined, but are not allowed in public places such as unit formations and dining facilities.

The infected Marine was not given Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug used to prevent the flu, because he was past the point in his illness at which the medicine would have been effective, Conway said. All of the other Marines involved are taking Tamiflu.

The southern-California base is about 200 miles from the Mexican border, but the Marine had not visited Mexico, Conway said.

Marine doctors should receive the test results from the CDC in the next two days.

This case comes on the heels of two military family members in Texas, both teenage boys, with confirmed cases this month. Both boys have made full recoveries.

Defense Department officials say they are monitoring the outbreak closely, with a primary focus on protecting the military population.

Two prescription anti-viral drugs, Relenza and Tamiflu, already are standard stock at U.S. military treatment facilities, and larger quantities are stockpiled at several sites in the United States and overseas, officials said.

(Report by Fred W. Baker III, American Forces Press Service.)

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