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Two Lowell Brothers First Swine Flu Cases In Mass.

Two school-aged children in Lowell have been diagnosed with swine flu. They are the first cases in Massachusetts.

The children, who returned last weekend from a vacation to Mexico, are recovering well and are being isolated at home.

State health officials say they have tested dozens of people who came in contact with the children, and found no sign of the flu. The director of public health in Lowell says there is no concern the virus was spread in the school system. He says the boys, whose names have not been released, were infected while on vacation and did not return to school.

The boys' mother is a public school employee, but has not returned to work since the trip.

Gov. Deval Patrick and state public health officials held a news conference Wednesday to reveal the confirmed cases. Patrick lauded the childrens' parents for keeping them home from school, and asked for the public's cooperation.

"If you are sick, stay home from work," the governor said. "And in this respect, I would ask especially for sensitivity from employers, in the interest of public health and safety. And  if your child is sick, keep them home from school."

Patrick stressed the need to take basic precautions, such as hand-washing, but he urged the public not to "overreact."

He says the state is working to limit the spread of the illness and has 50,000 courses of anti-viral medication in its own reserve, and 200,000 additional courses coming from the federal supply.

The state's chief epidemiologist has ruled out swine flu for most of the 40 residents screened for the virus.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

This program aired on April 29, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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