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Probable Case of Swine Flu in Minnesota Occurs in District Represented by Michele Bachmann

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On Wednesday Minnesota health officials reported the first probable case of swine flu in the state. If proven true it would make Minnesota the 11th state in the U.S, with a confirmed case of the current swine flu outbreak.

This probable case has occurred in someone associated with Rocori Middle School in the central Minnesota town of Cold Spring in the U.S. congressional 6th district represented by Republican Michele Bachmann. Local officials have closed two schools in Cold Spring as a precautionary measure.

Governor Tim Pawlenty and other officials called a news conference at 9 a.m. to discuss the state's response. Minnesota Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan, State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield and Education Commissioner Alice Seagren were scheduled to be at the news conference and make statements.

Representative Michele Bachmann only two days ago made the inflammatory and highly provocative statement suggesting that swine flu epidemics only happen under Democratic presidents.

Speaking to the conservative media outlet Pajamas TV on Monday, Michele Bachmann noted: "I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence."

The problem with her claim, like so many other statements she has made, was that it is historically inaccurate. A simple fact check or a two-minute trip to would have revealed that the last swine flu epidemic in the U.S. occurred in 1976 under Republican President Gerald Ford. The wikipedia entry includes a very famous photograph of then President Gerald Ford receiving the swine flu vaccine that was developed towards that particular strain.

The outbreak started when an army private died and four others were hospitalized at Fort Dix in New Jersey. The outbreak was confirmed in just over 200 soldiers and prompted a nationwide vaccination.

The irony of Michele Bachmann's recent statement is stunning along with the not very public push by the Republicans only a month prior to strip funding for pandemic preparedness out of the stimulus bill.
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Eric Nelson is freelance writer, an editor at OpEdNews, and a spiritual progressive from Minnesota who has become more politically active. The reasons for this should be obvious to most; rising poverty, a broken health care system, and a growing (more...)
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