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U.S., Galaxy teams gets medical advisory after Landon Donovan's illness

SOCCER

Players, coaches and staff are told to take a 10-day course of medication to combat possible exposure to the H1N1 virus. Meanwhile, Donovan's status for Saturday's Galaxy game remains doubtful.

August 15, 2009|Grahame L. Jones

All players, coaches and support staff on the U.S. national soccer team were advised Friday to take a 10-day course of medication to combat possible exposure to the H1N1 "swine flu" virus after forward Landon Donovan was found on Thursday to have contracted the virus.

"Based on the close exposure to Donovan during the team's training camp in Miami and match against Mexico," U.S. Soccer's medical staff has recommended the treatment "as a preventative measure," the federation said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Donovan did not train with the Galaxy on Friday and it remained doubtful whether he would take part in Saturday night's MLS game against the Seattle Sounders at the Home Depot Center.

It was after joining the national team Sunday in Miami that Donovan said he first began feeling ill. The illness really manifested itself after he returned from playing for the U.S. against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in Mexico City on Wednesday afternoon.

"The following day, he felt ill and as a precautionary measure he decided to get tested and was diagnosed with the virus," U.S. Soccer said.

"As a precaution, all members of the U.S. team delegation who came in close contact with Donovan have been advised to take a course of Tamiflu, which consists of 75 milligrams a day for 10 days."

Dr. David Wallis, a member of the federation's medical staff, said this was being done "solely as a preventative measure" and upon the advice of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Donovan, Wallis said, "is expected to be fine within a couple of days."

The players on the U.S. team have since returned to their clubs, scattered around seven countries. So far, none have complained of illness.

The federation confirmed that Donovan had likely contracted the virus from two Galaxy staff members who came down with the illness during a trip to New England last week.

Bruce Arena, the Galaxy's coach and general manager, said Friday that all Galaxy personnel, including the players, are also following a course of preventative medication.

"We had the flu run through the team last week in Boston and we took the necessary precautions," he said.

"The little understanding I have of this flu is that it is very manageable. I think the worst part of it is the word 'swine.' People tend to panic. I'm told there are other flus that are much more difficult to deal with.

"My guess -- and I haven't been in a lab all night working this out -- is Landon probably got contaminated last week when a couple of our staff members" became ill.

Donovan, along with midfielders David Beckham and Chris Birchall, who also played international matches on Wednesday, were excused from training Friday.

Donovan has tried to downplay the illness, realizing the alarm caused by the mere mention of swine flu.

"I've told a couple of people and they were like, 'Oh, my God. Are you going to be OK?' " he said in an interview with The Times on Thursday night. "It's just the flu."

He said the Galaxy team doctor that he saw Thursday could not tell him how long it would last.

"He said it's relatively new and they don't know a lot about it," Donovan said.

"The cases he's seen have been fairly mild, so there's not a lot of input he can give except just monitor yourself, rest and drink water.

"Maybe it's my body telling me I need a break."

--

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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