VILNIUS - Results from a London lab have confirmed that the suspected Lithuanian case of swine flu (SIV) is not the H1N1 virus, leaving the country SIV free for the moment.
"There is no swine flu 's the answer we have from London 's it is not swine flu. Not H1N1. To know what kind of virus it is, we will have to wait," a Health Ministry spokesperson said adding that the results of the test are not critically important given that it is not SIV.
Doctors sent what they suspected was the country's first case of 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 the Lithuanian citizen who returned to the country from Mexico on April 23 were confirmed as containing a Type A influenza virus, but were sent to London for further checks.
Lithuanian clinics are unable to analyze the swine flu virus samples, a Health Ministry representative told TBT.
"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," Health Ministry public relations Chief Specialist Natalja Keturkiene said.
The man 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."
At the time TBT went to press, WHO reported 985 confirmed cases of SIV in 18 countries.
Mexico has reported 590 laboratory confirmed human cases of infection, including 25 deaths. The higher number of cases from Mexico reflects ongoing testing of previously collected specimens. The United States has reported 226 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.
The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (85), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Costa Rica (1), Colombia (1), Denmark (1), El Salvador (2), France (2), Germany (8), Ireland (1), Israel (3), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Republic of Korea (1), Spain (40), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (15).