Possible Swine Flu Hits the Hill

Pages are quarantined

Five Capitol Hill pages are isolated from lawmakers, staff and other pages after demonstrating flu-like symptoms, according to a high-ranking official.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer released a memo saying five pages are exhibiting an elevated temperature, cough and sore throats.

He said the office of the attending physician believes they most likely have the flu and may have swine flu.

The cases have not been confirmed, but the pages are receiving treatment.

Gainer said in his memo that the sick pages are "resting comfortably apart from their peers."

Pages are typically high school juniors who work closely with lawmakers during the school year and summer months. There are 50 pages in this summer's class, according to Gainer.

Read Gainer's full memo below:


This message was sent to Senators, Chiefs of Staff, Administrative Managers, Schedulers and Executive Assistants:

I am writing to let the Senate community know that the Senate Page Program is reporting that five of our summer pages are exhibiting flu-like symptoms<slightly elevated temperature, cough, and sore throats - and the Office of Attending Physician believes that they most likely have influenza, quite possibly the H1N1 virus. The Office of Attending Physician (and the
vast majority of outside doctors) are not testing for the virus right now since the test itself is uncomfortable and the results of the test will not alter the treatment plan. The pages are resting comfortably apart from their peers and will not be allowed to return to work until cleared by the Physician¹s Office. While it is not unusual for several pages in a class of 50 to be ill at any given time, we are aware that the flu is of particular concern to our community right now.

The Office of the Attending Physician is closely monitoring the situation and does not believe that further actions on the part of the Senate Community are necessary at this time. If that changes, we will let you know. This is a good time, however, to remind all of you that flu season, and the expected stronger return of the H1N1 virus, is coming, particularly as colleges and schools resume in the fall. We ask all of you to continue to take precautions, including frequent hand washing and sanitizing, staying home if you feel ill, and ensuring that you and your colleagues are prepared to work from home if a pandemic flu strikes this area. We encourage all of you to review the excellent material on the flu available on the Office of the Attending Physician¹s website on Webster at Senate.gov.

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