First possible case of H1N1 flu found in Winchester

Eric Tseti and Rory Schuler

Joe Tabbi, a health agent with the Winchester Board of Health, made an unexpected announcement to start Monday's Board of Selectmen’s meeting.

“We received a report from Winchester Hospital at 4 p.m. today,” he told the board and small crowd. “We have one possible case of H1N1 flu.”

He said that health officials are testing the virus in a state laboratory in Jamaica Plain.

Tabbi would not give out any information on the individual who has displayed swine flu symptoms.

He added that if the virus does prove to be classified as the H1N1 strain, and the victim is a school-aged child, he will notify the school department and “appropriate action will be taken.”

“We are in contact with the school department and the hospital,” Tabbi said. “We are working as a team, and if an outbreak does happen, we are ready for it.”

The “H1N1 virus,” which health officials say contains mostly swine components (but also shares human and avian influenza characteristics), has been spreading across the globe. Federal health officials have cautiously warned of a possible pandemic.

Tabbi will be making an announcement regarding the status of Winchester’s “possible case” as details emerge.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site for more information on the virus.