Rain, Shine or Swine Flu, Cowboys Will Play

Arlington prepares schools, city for possible flu outbreaks

The mayor of Arlington said Wednesday that Cowboys Stadium would likely not close because of H1N1, or swine flu, outbreak.

Mayor Bob Cluck said the situation could change, but "it's not very likely" that an event at the stadium would be canceled because of the flu, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Flu outbreaks are not also not expected to shut down other major venues such as Six Flags Over Texas or the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"We're not going to close those venues because of the swine flu," Cluck said. "We think that is not a risky maneuver. When I said, 'We will not,' of course that is subject to change, but that is our current plan."

Arlington officials said they are providing information about the flu to parents before school starts Aug. 24.

"We will still remain a safe city and be able to handle whatever is thrown at us in the next six months," Cluck said.

Posters in English, Spanish and Vietnamese on how to stop the spread of swine flu are being distributed in schools and throughout Arlington.

More than 5,200 cases of the H1N1 flu and 28 deaths from the flu were confirmed in Texas from April through July 31, the most recent data available, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. About 65 percent of those who caught the flu were children ages 5 to 18, based on early reported cases, the department said.

At the height of flu fears in the spring, some 500,000 of the state's 4.7 million students stayed home when more than 850 schools closed for a few days or longer. And events such as outdoor festivals and Special Olympics Texas' spring games were canceled.

But since then, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its guidelines, now saying buildings should be closed only in drastic cases and sick students may return as soon as 24 hours after their fever is gone.

The CDC also recommends students get H1N1 flu vaccinations, which are anticipated to be ready by the fall.

The CDC continues to stress prevention by encouraging people to wash their hands, cough into their sleeves and stay home if they get sick.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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