UPDATE: Tennessee officials nearly sure of the state's first swine flu case

Gov. Phil Bredesen tells the media that Tennessee likely has its first case of swine flu. A culture from a Williamson County child has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control to confirm the state's test.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Tennessee health officials say the state may be dealing with its first case of swine influenza.

Gov. Phil Bredesen addressed the media on Wednesday night at the state capital, confirming what was known so far.

"We wanted to let you know that we have the first probable case of N1H1 Influenza, which people call the swine flu,” he said. “To be clear this is not a confirmed case, but it has gone to the CDC for confirmation.”

Earlier in the week, the state announced that it expected mild cases of the swine flu to pop up in Tennessee. Ten cultures from potential cases were in the process being tested on Tuesday.

One of those cultures is likely the same one health officials believe will become a confirmed swine flu case. It involves a Williamson County child who attends Harding Academy in Davidson County. The state says it was flagged when the child’s doctor submitted a blood sample to the state health department to be analyzed.

“The test we preformed here is at least 95.5 percent accurate,” said Gov. Bredesen. “I think it's at least a safe bet to say that this will become ultimately a confirmed case.”

Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper also addressed the gathering, explaining the state already has a plan in place to deal with a pandemic if one occurs.

"We're not surprised by this development,” Cooper said. “We have prepared and we have practiced, and we stand fully ready to take care of the residents of our state.”

State officials have not released the name, age and sex of the patient, but do confirm they have a mild case of the sickness and are recovering at home. A blood sample has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. They expected to receive the results within 24 to 48 hours after the press conference.

Harding Academy is located in Nashville and currently enrolls 490 students from Kindergartner through the eight grades. It will remain closed for at least seven days. Meanwhile, the health department says anyone who has come in contact with the child and begins to feel flu like symptoms should see a doctor.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)



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