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Swine Flu-Hit Colombian President on Path to Recovery

by VR Sreeraman on September 1, 2009 at 1:28 PM
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 Swine Flu-Hit Colombian President on Path to Recovery

President Alvaro Uribe is expected to fully recover from swine flu by midweek his office said Monday, a day after announcing that the Colombian had become the second Latin leader to fall ill from the virus.

Uribe's office announced Sunday that the Colombian leader appears to have fallen ill with the H1N1 virus after attending a regional summit last week in Argentina, and other governments had been notified .


Uribe's personal physician Gustavo Aristizabal told local radio that the Colombian leader would require two additional days of treatment, "but by Wednesday afternoon, he should be able to resume normal activity."

Aristizabal said Uribe first began to feel ill at around midday on Friday. But his symptoms, including persistent cough and fever, already appeared to be subsiding, the physician said.

"Since Saturday, the president has ceased to have fever. He shows general signs of illness - a sore throat, a little achiness in the chest - but now he is on the road toward full recovery," Aristizabal said.

The country's health minister Diego Palacio told reporters that he spoke with Uribe late Sunday and was monitoring how the illness progressed.

"It's going quite well," said Palacio, who is also a medical doctor, adding that he did not fear any major health consequences from Uribe's brush with the dreaded virus.

"The president seemed very animated and well on the road to recovery," Palacio said.

Costa Rica's President Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and mediator of the Honduran political crisis, also had a bout of swine flu earlier this month.

Meanwhile, another top Colombian official, Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez, who is on official business in China, has also been tested to determine whether he has contracted the virus, officials said.

Colombia's ambassador to Beijing said Chinese authorities, out of an abundance of caution, had asked Bermudez to undergo a health screening to ensure that he was not infected with swine flu, after news of Uribe's illness emerged.

"Out of diplomatic prudence, meetings that he had planned today (Monday) have been canceled until we get the test results," Ambassador Guillermo Ricardo Velez told RCN radio.

Velez added however that Bermudez is "in perfect health" and shows "no symptoms" of the virus.

A spokesman in Bogota said Uribe's office also informed other governments who attended the summit in Bariloche, Argentina about his illness.

"All the people and government leaders who have had close contact with the president are being informed," said spokesman Cesar Mauricio Velasquez.

Velasquez added that while in isolation, Uribe was continuing to carry out some his official duties by telephone and Internet.

Deaths from swine flu in Latin America, the worst-hit region in the world, rose to over 1,300 this month.

To date, 34 people have died of the flu in Colombia, official data show. A total of 621 infections have been confirmed.

Source: AFP

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