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Health Commissioner says right decision to send home 4-H members

FALCON HEIGHTS -- Minnesota 4-H officials are sending 120 youths home from the State Fair after some came down with the H1N1 swine flu.

Four 4-H members and one staffer early today were confirmed as having the new flu. In all, 14 4-H'ers went home sick, but not all were tested.

About 120 more 4-H members were sent home because they stayed in a fair dormitory with those who became ill.

Health and fair officials said the public is in no increased danger and should not avoid the fair.

Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan said the fair and 4-H leaders did the right thing in sending home the youths, 14 to 19 years old. She said that similar situations will play out as Minnesota schools begin fall classes.

4-H officials began noticing some members from different parts of the state fell ill Tuesday night. But it was early today before any H1N1 cases were con-firmed.

State 4-H program leader Dorothy Freeman said that the sick youths immedi-ately were sent home. Others in contact with them were isolated, and were to head home later in the day.

John Stine of the Minnesota Health Department said fair officials did a good job with hygiene, but the flu still can spread.

The H1N1 flu, which is spreading worldwide, affects young people more than older ones. None of the 4-H members were thought to be seriously ill.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.