Mankato Clinic Medical Director Dr. Mark Matthias spoke of the greater Mankato area’s first confirmed case of H1N1 flu at a news conference Friday at Immanuel St. Joseph’s Hospital.

John Cross
The Free Press, Mankato, MN

The greater Mankato area’s first case of swine flu has been confirmed.

Local health officials said Friday an adult female contracted the virus following suspected exposure to it in the Twin Cities area.

“But she’s recovered and back to work already. She didn’t require hospitalization,” said Mankato Clinic Medical Director Dr. Mark Matthias.

“That’s the typical case. People are recovering and moving on very quickly. It’s out there, but fortunately it’s still fairly mild.”

Minnesota has had 425 confirmed cases, including three in the 11-county South Central region that includes Mankato. Of those 425 people, 107 were hospitalized.

Sibley County’s first case, a 4-year-old child, was confirmed a few days ago.

Minnesota’s first confirmed death from H1N1, a 5-year-old Minneapolis girl, occurred last week. She had underlying health problems.

The number of cases statewide has spiked up sharply in the past two weeks, and health officials are issuing preventive advice anew:

• Each time you cough or sneeze cover your nose with a tissue or use your sleeve.

• Clean hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

• Avoid touching your eyes and mouth.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay healthy by eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep and exercising.

“We want to make sure our guard is not let down, that we’re doing all the appropriate things,” Matthias said of the coordinated preparedness efforts already in place within the health care community.

“The experience we’ve had in dealing with this in our region has been invaluable to us.”

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