First likely swine flu case in Vermont is from Orleans County

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(Host) Vermont has its first likely case of swine flu. 

The Department of Health said Wednesday that an Orleans County resident contracted the illness and is currently recovering at home.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

For privacy reasons, officials aren’t giving the age, sex or town of residence of the individual. 

They do say the person had traveled to another state where there are confirmed cases. 

The case is listed as "probable" until confirmation comes from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, but officials say they’re 99 percent sure its swine flu.  And Vermont Health Commissioner Doctor Wendy Davis says this is likely not the last.

(Davis) "I do expect more cases.  I think we’re hearing about more cases in other states every day and we know that as much as people have been taking good precautions, it’s difficult to limit the spread of this illness once it appears in multiple states, so we do expect more cases.

(Zind) Davis says the suspected Vermont case did not require hospitalization and there’s no indication the illness has spread beyond one individual in Vermont.   Davis says the Health Department has conducted 150 tests for swine flu in the past 10 days. 

She says the severity of the disease in this country and why it appears to be less dangerous than in the initial outbreak in Mexico is one of the key unanswered questions about swine flu.

(Davis) "It’s reassuring and it’s comforting at the moment that it’s been behaving more like what we expect with seasonal influenza versus something much more serious than that.  I think there’s a lot that’s yet to be discovered about it and I think it’s also unclear what this might lead to when we get back to our usual flu season in the fall and next winter."

(Zind) The department is urging Vermonters to continue to take precautions like frequent hand washing and staying home from work or school if you’re ill.

For VPR News, I’m Steve Zind.

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