4 Senate pages display swine flu symptoms

WASHINGTON — Four summer pages working in the Senate have exhibited symptoms similar to swine flu and have been quarantined, according to the Senate sergeant-at-arms.

The Senate’s Office of Attending Physician did not plan to test the teenage pages for the H1N1 virus because the accuracy of the tests is poor and because it would not alter the treatment plan, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer said in a memo late Tuesday to senators and their staffs.

Gainer said the four pages had fevers of over 100 degrees, coughs and sore throats. Two of the pages were improving and were expected to return to work today, he said. Two others fell ill on Tuesday.

Pages are high school juniors and at least 16 years old. They serve primarily as messengers. The current class numbers 50 pages.

“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,” Gainer said in his memo.

Gainer did not identify the pages who had fallen ill.

As a precaution against the flu and other illnesses, hand sanitizers were installed throughout the Capitol several months ago.

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