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Cuba reports first confirmed case of swine flu

Cuba has reported its first confirmed case of the swine flu that has sickened thousands of people around the world, the Public Health Ministry said yesterday.

In a statement read on state-run television, the ministry said the infected person was a student from Mexico who had returned to Cuba after vacation.

No details were given on the student's condition.

The ministry said that, in all, it had found 84 people from eight countries with flu-like symptoms and that they and 511 other people who had contact with them had been tested for swine flu.

Those tested include 14 Mexican students, all of them studying in a Cuban medical school, but only the one case had been confirmed so far.

The Cuban government has taken a number of measures to prevent the swine flu virus from reaching the Caribbean island located 115 miles (185 km) across the Yucatan Channel from Mexico, epicenter of the swine flu outbreak.

On April 28, it banned flights from Mexico. It has stepped up medical vigilance at airports, ports and marinas and is tracking visitors who have recently been in Mexico.

In recent years, Cuba has become a popular tourist destination, receiving 2.3 million visitors from around the world in 2008.

Cuba prides itself on its free healthcare and the government often acts aggressively to keep people safe during natural disasters such as hurricanes.


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