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First probable case of swine flu reported in Minnesota

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota health officials reported the first probable case of swine flu in the state today, and local officials closed two schools as a precaution.

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Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other officials called a news conference for 9 a.m. to discuss the state's response. Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan, State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield and Education Commissioner Alice Seagren were scheduled to be there.

The governor's office said in a statement that the Minnesota Department of Health is characterizing the case as "probable." That means the MDH lab has confirmed the virus as type A H1N1 influenza.

But the governor's office said the strain can't be identified using lab tests available to the department. It said additional testing by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be needed to determine if the patient had the same unusual new strain of influenza that has made people sick in Mexico, several U.S. states and other countries.

Given the way the disease has spread, state health officials had said it was only a matter of time before it showed up in Minnesota.

As a result of the probable case, local officials voluntarily closed the Rocori Middle School and St. Boniface School in the central Minnesota town of Cold Spring, about 60 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

The announcement from the governor's office gave no details on the patient.

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