By Nathan Gill and Sebastian Boyd
May 17 (Bloomberg) — Two female tourists returning from the Dominican Republic became Chile’s first confirmed cases of swine flu, Health Minister Alvaro Erazo told reporters today in Santiago.
They arrived in Chile yesterday on Copa Airlines Flight 437 from the beach resort of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, via Panama, he said. Erazo confirmed the two cases, women aged 25 and 32, in two press conferences in Santiago today.
The number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the world has risen to more than 8,400 in at least 39 countries, the World Health Organization said today on its Web site. Chilean health officials have contacted 80 of the more than 100 people who shared the flight with the women and have contacted other groups of tourists who had stayed in the same resort, Erazo said in comments broadcast by CNN Chile tonight.
“Chile has taken all the measures necessary to contain this outbreak,” Erazo told reporters this morning.
Separately, Chilean health officials tracked down and quarantined 23 people who shared a plane from New York to Lima with a woman who was later confirmed as Peru’s first swine flu patient, the health ministry said yesterday in a statement. Passengers and crew from the Lan Airlines SA flight later continued to Santiago, arriving in the early morning of May 10.
The government has more than 900,000 doses of antiviral drugs on hand to treat patients, the ministry said.