SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA Ultra-competitive Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez, 69, has an impressive list of accomplishments; he has been elected president twice, is a Nobel Peace laureate, has received the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism as well as over fifty honorary degrees, and serves as a mediator in the political crisis in Honduras; now he is the first head of state to contract swine flu, the new virus that has caused widespread alarm throughout the world.
Arias is reported to be under quarantine at his home in suburban Rohrmoser and receiving the anti-viral medication oseltamivir.
"The pandemic makes no distinctions," Arias said modestly. "I am one more case in this country and I am being submitted to the recommendations that health authorities have established for the entire population."
The government of Costa Rica is committed to the social and educational welfare of its citizens and provides affordable access to one of the finest health care systems in the world.
Even foreigners living in Costa Rica can join the the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) by paying a small monthly fee which is based income based or purchase health insurance from the State monopoly Instituto de Seguro Nacional (INS).
CCSS is the government sponsored network of 29 hospitals and more than 250 clinics located throughout the country, while INS insurance provides access to over 200 affiliated
doctors, hospitals, labs and pharmacies, in the private sector.
Statistics from the World Health Organization's "The World Health Report 1995" placed Costa Rica third in life expectancy in the world, ahead of both Great Britain
and the United States and behind only Japan and France.
According to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the greenest country in the world. The HPI measures how much of the Earth's resources nations use and how long and happy a life their citizens enjoy as a result.
Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army and plans to become the world's first carbon neutral country by 2021.
Currently Arias Sanchez enjoys a higher approval rating among American voters than President Barack Obama.
Obama is reportedly outraged by the most recent development in the battle of one-upsmanship that has raged between the two since he became the first black American president and is confidently predicting that his will be the first entire first family to contract the swine flu.
Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama are reported to have mixed feelings regarding the startling revelation.