World News

California Marine has swine flu; 30 quarantined

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - About 30 U.S. Marines on a Southern California military base, the nation’s largest, have been quarantined after one of them was confirmed to have contracted the swine flu virus, the Marine Corps said on Wednesday.

The case was identified at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Centre and was confirmed by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, the base said in a statement.

Twentynine Palms, located on roughly 950,000 square miles (2,460 square km) in the California desert, is the largest military base in the United States with some 8,000 active-duty personnel. It is the principal training facility for Marines and sailors deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ill Marine, the first member of the U.S. armed forces reported by the military to have contracted the H1N1 virus, is being treated as an outpatient at the base and will remain isolated at his barracks.

“He is doing well, and his condition continues to improve,” the base statement said.

About 30 other Marines who had been “active socially” with him are being quarantined as well, the statement said. They will be permitted to return to full duty after five days if they display no flu-like symptoms, it added.

“The Marine Corps, along with all of the armed forces, is monitoring the health of our force to ensure we’re taking the necessary precautions to educate and safeguard military and civilian personnel, as well as family members,” the statement said.

At a Pentagon briefing earlier in the day, Marine Corps commandant General James Conway said the ill Marine at Twentynine Palms had not been to Mexico, where as many as 159 deaths have been attributed to the virus.

Editing by Philip Barbara