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Swine flu strikes county schools

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  • Swine flu strikes county schools

    Swine flu strikes county schools
    By: MICHELLE WILLARD, Post Staff Writer
    Posted: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 11:39 am

    Rutherford County Schools has six confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus at two schools and suspected cases at three additional schools.

    ?As of this morning, we have confirmed cases at two schools: Barfield Elementary (with) four cases and Rockvale (with) two cases,? RCS spokesman James Evans said.

    There are suspected, but not confirmed, cases of H1N1 virus, or Swine Flu at Cedar Grove, Stewartsboro and Smyrna High, he added.

    The school system sent out the following guidelines to parents earlier this week to combat an outbreak of the flu:

    Recommended school responses for the 2009-2010 school year
    Under conditions with similar severity as in spring 2009

    NEW Stay home when sick: Those with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines and have no more symptoms of the flu. They should stay home even if they are using antiviral drugs.

    Separate ill students and staff: Students and staff who appear to have flu-like illness should be sent to a room separate from others until they can be sent home. CDC recommends that they wear a surgical mask, if possible, and that those who care for ill students and staff wear protective gear such as a mask.

    Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette: The new recommendations emphasize the importance of the basic foundations of influenza prevention: stay home when sick, wash hands frequently with soap and water when possible, and cover noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or a shirt sleeve or elbow if no tissue is available).

    Routine cleaning: School staff should routinely clean areas that students and staff touch often with the cleaners they typically use. Special cleaning with bleach and other non- detergent-based cleaners is not necessary.

    Early treatment of high-risk students and staff: People at high risk for influenza complications who become ill with influenza-like illness should speak with their health care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment with antiviral medications is very important for people at high risk because it can prevent hospitalizations and deaths. People at high risk include those who are pregnant, have asthma or diabetes, have compromised immune systems, or have neuromuscular diseases.

    According to the Tennessee Department of Health, most of the people who have become sick with H1N1 in the United States have not become seriously ill and have recovered without hospitalization.

    Cases have been confirmed in all 50 states in the U.S., with an official count at more than 37,000 cases, with 211 fatalities. As of last month, there have been 246 confirmed cases of the novel H1N1 virus in Tennessee with one reported death.

    As the upcoming influenza season approaches in the fall and winter months, the Tennessee Department of Health encourages the public to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu and H1N1, when a vaccine is available.

    Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or

  • #2
    Re: Swine flu strikes county schools

    Seven schools report swine flu

    Rutherford system treats all cases of flu as H1N1


    Only a week into the new school year, seven Rutherford County schools have reported cases of H1N1, or swine flu, an official said. Murfreesboro City schools have no reported cases.

    The highest number of reported cases have been at Barfield Elementary in Murfreesboro with eight students infected and at Cedar Grove Elementary in Smyrna, which has six cases, said James Evans, Rutherford County Schools spokesman.

    Stewartsboro Elementary, Rockvale Elementary, Central Middle, Kittrell Elementary and Smyrna High schools have also reported cases of swine flu.

    All cases involve students except at Smyrna High, where a staff member has been infected, according to Evans.

    The new flu strain is expected to infect more people than the yearly seasonal flu, the Tennessee Department of Health said.

    "Flu at this time of year is not seasonal flu," said Evans.

    He said cases of flu at this time of year will be considered as swine flu.

    The state is advising anyone who is sick to stay at home three to five days until he or she is fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever medication.

    Schools have been told to separate students and staff who have flu-like symptoms and put a surgical mask on them. Nurses and others caring for students are advised to wear a mask as well.

    The department has modified its recommendations and is asking students to bring a doctor's note to excuse absences caused by the flu.

    Coordinator of School Health Andrea Cain said Murfreesboro City Schools has not had any reported cases of swine flu.

    "With HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that protects patient rights) confidentiality, we may not know," Cain said.

    Doctors may not report cases of students to their respective school, she said.

    "We do recommend that everyone get a flu shot every year," Cain said.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing swine flu vaccines, which are expected to be available in mid-October. Vanderbilt University in Nashville is participating in the testing of the vaccines.
    Last edited by Niko; August 20, 2009, 09:19 AM. Reason: link & formatting
    "In the beginning of change, the patriot is a scarce man (or woman, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for it then costs nothing to be a patriot."- Mark TwainReason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Thomas Paine