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Costa Rica President Arias has H1N1 flu

COSTA Rican President Oscar Arias is suffering from the H1N1 virus, the government said yesterday, making him the first head of state known to have contracted swine flu.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Arias, 68, felt unwell over the weekend and asked to be tested for the virus.

"As a result of that test, he was informed that he had contracted the H1N1 influenza virus," said Rodrigo Arias, the government's chief of staff and the president's brother.

Arias, who another government official said suffers from asthma, is at home and will rest until Monday.

He first served as president from 1986-90 and was re-elected in 2006 on a promise to end corruption and take the small country into a Central American free trade pact with the United States.

He won the Nobel prize in 1987 for a peace plan to end Central American civil wars and guerrilla conflicts.

In recent weeks, Arias has brokered talks to try to end a political crisis in Honduras after President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a coup on June 28.


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