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
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 H1N1 flu virus
(otherwise known as the Mexican Flu).
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 (click on photo for the video) 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.