August 31, 2009 / 1:16 PM / 9 years ago

Colombia says president has swine flu

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has contracted the H1N1 swine flu virus and is being treated by doctors while continuing to work from his residence, government spokesman Cesar Velasquez said on Sunday.

“He is working by telephone and Internet,” the spokesman told Reuters.

A popular conservative and Washington’s key ally in South America, Uribe attended a summit with other regional leaders on Friday in Argentina. He started suffering from fever, headaches and backaches after the meeting, Velasquez said.

The leaders who met with the 57-year-old Uribe at the summit have been advised of his infection, Velasquez added.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias was the first known head of government to have caught swine flu. He recovered earlier this month from a mild case of the virus and returned to his normal routine after working from home for about a week while being treated.

Colombia has reported 621 confirmed cases of swine flu with 34 deaths, according to its social protection ministry.

The H1N1 swine flu virus spread widely after emerging in April in Mexico and the United States. The WHO declared a pandemic in June and warned that the new strain could infect hundreds of millions of people.

Reporting by Hugh Bronstein, editing by Anthony Boadle

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