An individual from Ottawa has tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, making it the city’s first confirmed case.

As with most other reported cases in Ontario, “this individual returned from Mexico about a week ago,” the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Isra Levy, said at a news conference yesterday. “This gentleman had mild symptoms.”

The man sought medical attention quickly, was released, and although his condition did not warrant treatment, he followed medical advice and “continues to do well,” said Levy.

“There have been many inquiries about the individual,” said Levy, “but there is really no reason to provide information about this individual. The key part is that influenza is a community infection.”

Levy said public health officials have followed up with all of the individual’s close contacts, and that they were found to be healthy. Because of that, there is no cause for anyone who was travelling with the individual to be concerned.

“We are not dealing with SARS,” said Levy. “We are dealing with a common community infection.”

As of yesterday, there were 36 confirmed cases of swine flu in the province, Levy said. The country’s first serious case was reported Monday, after an Alberta girl was admitted to hospital.

As the virus is new, there are no vaccines and no immunity and the entire population is susceptible, said Levy. He added while seasonal flu typically affects the very young and very old, the majority of people affected by the swine flu are between 20 and 45 years old.

Ottawa public health is working with hospitals to increase local capacity in case there is a demand on health services in the community, Levy said.

But paramedic chief Anthony DiMonte said that so far, “we have not seen a strain on services or an increase of 9-1-1 calls.”

Ottawa’s first case has “no immediate impact” on public health’s recommendations to residents of the city, Levy said.

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