VILNIUS - Lithuania's health authorities has sent what it suspects is the country's first case of swine flu (SIV) to London to be checked in a laboratory after a local man who recently visited Mexico reported symptoms of the virus.
Samples taken from a Lithuanian citizen who returned to the country from Mexico on April 23 have been confirmed as containing a Type A influenza virus, but must be processed in London for a confirmation.
Currently Lithuanian clinics are unable to analyze the swine flu virus samples, a Health Ministry representative told TBT.
"Our laboratory couldn't identify it exactly. It has been sent to London and we don't know when it will be back. The patient is in the communicable disease ward in a clinic. He feels good at the moment," Health Ministry public relations Chief Specialist Natalja Keturkiene said.
"According to the rules, we have to send the sample to London. Our clinics are only allowed to test for seasonal influenza and so we sent the sample to the reference laboratory," she said.
The possible victim reported flu-like symptoms on April 25 and submitted himself to tests on April 28.
It had originally been feared that the man had passed the virus on to his family who also came down with flu symptoms, but they had caught the seasonal flu, not SIV, Ketkurkiene said.
On April 29, the World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded the status of SIV's spread to grade five out of six, indicating that a global pandemic is thought to be "imminent."
WHO reported 148 confirmed cases of SIV in nine countries.
"The United States Government has reported 91 laboratory confirmed human cases, with one death. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection including seven deaths," WHO said in a statement on its Web site. "The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (13), Germany (3), Israel (2), New Zealand (3), Spain (4) and the United Kingdom (5)."