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Three missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stationed at the church’s Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, have been diagnosed with the H1N1 swine flu. Another 17 missionaries have been diagnosed with type A flu virus. The Missionary Training Center, or MTC as it is widely known, has taken steps to shut down the spread of both flu viruses among its population of approximately 2000 missionaries.

Those missionaries from outside Utah who have been diagnosed have been isolated and those who live locally have been sent home to recuperate. Plastic utensils have been pressed into service in the dining hall and hand sanitizer is prevalent on campus. The training schedule, however, is about to further complicate the situation. A new crop of about 500 missionaries is set to arrive at the MTC on Wednesday.

To address the potential threat posed by the new arrivals, LDS church officials are urging parents of incoming missionaries to pay close attention to the health of their sons and daughters. If there is any sign of a lack of perfect health, parents are asked to reschedule the drop off of their children at the campus. When new missionaries are dropped off, parents are being asked to make the drop off at the curb rather than enter the facility for the traditional reception and orientation process.

It is unclear where the MTC outbreak originated, but Church officials believe it was a family source outside the MTC who participated in a family drop-off event. As of yesterday, the confirmed number of swine flu cases in Utah is 369. Of those, there has been one death and 28 hospitalizations. For more information on local swine flu issues, visit the Utah Department of Health’s information and resource page on the subject.

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