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Va. Man and Woman Contracted Virus Separately in Mexico

By Anita Kumar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 1, 2009

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine confirmed last night that two state residents contracted swine flu while traveling in Mexico.

Kaine (D) told reporters that the separate cases involved a woman from the central part of state and a man from the eastern portion.

Two sources close to Kaine said the cases involved a woman from Chesterfield, just outside Richmond, and a man from the state's Northern Neck. He declined to identify them.

Neither person required hospitalization, and both have recovered. Each had traveled to Mexico, had a mild illness and is recovering well, Kaine said. Neither is a student, he added.

"It is likely there will be other cases," Kaine said.

Kaine would not reveal the addresses, ages or other personal details about the patients in an effort to protect their privacy. He also said the state would release information only about confirmed cases and would not discuss any probable cases, if there are any.

The state opened a command center in Richmond this week to help respond quickly to any suspected cases of swine flu. Virginia Health Commissioner Karen Remley declared a public health emergency to enable the state to better track and coordinate suspected reports from doctors and hospitals.

"The state of Virginia is very prepared," Remley said.

The state has 770,000 courses of antiviral drugs and has started to receive 280,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials said.

Virginia is using a modified plan designed in 2006 to combat bird flu.

Since then, the state has conducted six exercises to test its emergency preparedness plan for pandemic flu outbreaks.

The state has set up a hotline at 877-ASK-VDH3 (275-8343), for anyone with concerns or questions.

The line, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., received 750 calls yesterday.

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