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Second H1N1 swine flu case suspected

ST. PAUL - A second probable Minnesota H1N1 swine flu case is being investigated.

The state Health Department this morning announced it is sending a laboratory sample from a second person to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. The state lab tested the sample, which appeared to indicate the new flu, but the federal facility in Atlanta must confirm it.

The new case comes from Isanti County, north of the Twin Cities. A Health Department news release said the person did not require hospitalization and remains at home, expected to make a full recovery.

The first confirmed Minnesota H1N1 swine flu victim had ties to a Cold Spring middle school in central Minnesota. That victim, who also did not require hospitalization, had contact with someone who had visited Mexico, where the flu outbreak is worse.

State "epidemiologists are investigating whether there is a link to Mexico or to other areas where cases have occurred," the Health Department reported. "This case does not involve a school."

The state health lab tests showed the new case as probable with findings that the person had type A flu. However, the exact flu strain could not be determined.

The Minnesota lab is due to soon receive test kits that will allow it to single out the H1N1 virus.

The virus has sickened people in 11 countries. One death has been reported in the United States, but health officials warn that the flu could become a pandemic and kill many.

Minnesota health officials have tested 224 samples from people with flu symptoms, with more than 30 left to be checked.

A Minnesota Health Department H1N1 swine flu hotline for the public to ask questions is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, at (800) 657-3903.