Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe has swine flu

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has contracted the Influenza A (H1N1) swine flu virus but is well enough to continue to work, albeit in quarantine, his spokesman said.


AFP - Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has the swine flu but is doing well, his spokesman said Sunday, just days after the leader returned from a regional summit in Argentina.

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

Uribe, a conservative staunch US ally, began to suffer from symptoms of the flu on Saturday after returning from a summit meeting in Argentina, so he had a checkup which confirmed he had the A(H1N1) virus, according to a statement read out by his spokesman Cesar Velasquez.

"The president is continuing to work, and he will be in quarantine for some time as he recovers," the statement added, noting that Uribe was doing well and was working out of his ranch in Rionegro, in the country's northwest.

Velasquez also said Uribe's office sent a message to governments of other countries that took part in the summit in Bariloche, Argentina, to see if anyone else had taken ill.

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

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

The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) summit met in the Argentine ski resort of Bariloche to examine claims by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez that US military deployment in Colombia could be used to invade his country.

Unasur groups Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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

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