Swine Flu Closes Richardson Elem. School

Swine flu closes Richardson elementary school

Dallas County health officials confirm three cases of swine flu have been found in the county and three more probable cases were announced Tuesday morning.  This after a North Texas elementary school canceling classes until at least Friday after a student was confirmed to have contracted the illness.

The student attends Canyon Creek Elementary School in Richardson. Two other students at the school are suspected of carrying the virus, though those cases have not been confirmed.

"We determined that it would be the best interest of the students at Canyon Creek that we cancel for the remainder of the week," said Richardson ISD Superintendent David Simmons.

None of the illnesses have required hospitalization, and none are considered serious. There are no other reported cases at any other Richardson campuses.

"It's a pretty big step to close the school for the rest of the week, so at least they're being active," Canyon Creek parent David Suess said.

All activities at the school scheduled through Friday, including TAKS testing, have been canceled. Cleaning crews will be working to thoroughly clean and disinfect the school throughout the week.

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson says the two other cases involve a 24-year-old and a 3-month-old. He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the North Texas cases on Monday.

Thompson said the patients are recovering and are not hospitalized.

Dallas County health officials are still trying to determine the circumstances of how the three individuals were infected. 

The Dallas County Public Health Advisory Committee will meet Thursday morning at 9:30 to discuss the outbreak in North Texas. Representatives from all 25 municipalities in Dallas County, among other committee members, will be present.
In Fort Worth, Tarrant County health officials are investigating a probable case of swine flu involving a 12-year-old student at McLean Middle School. The case has not been confirmed as swine flu.

Brian Keith Thomas, whose child attends McLean Middle School, said he has his son's doctor on standby.

"I am concerned, but I trust that the school district will hand it appropriately," said Alice Walker, another McLean parent.

Before the Dallas County announcement, the state health department had confirmed three other cases. Those were found in high school students in Central Texas.

Google Maps has released a map of reported cases of swine flu -- see it here.

Doctors Caution Against Overreacting

Some North Texas hospitals were flooded with calls from people who thought they might have the swine flu.

Dr. Terry McCarthy, an emergency room physician at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, said symptoms are much more serious than sniffling or a light cough.

"If you have the flu, you feel like you got run over by a Mack truck," McCarthy said. "You have real high fever, you get terrible body aches."

The federal government is sending 12 million doses of Tamiflu and Relenza to Texas and other states where the virus has spread.

Doctors said only some people with already-weak immune systems should use the anti-flu medicine as a preventative.

"I wouldn't make a run on them," said Dr. Paul Pepe of UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital. "This is a mild form of the disease. If everyone is taking it, there's not enough of a supply."

28 Confirmed Cases Hit NYC School 

In New York City, a school official said one of the 20 people who have confirmed cases of swine flu at the school is a teacher. There are 17 other probable cases that are not yet confirmed as swine flu.

Brother Leonard Conway of St. Francis Preparatory in Queens said Monday that 10 teachers are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

He said that 160 students have called out sick since last week and that parents have called about other new cases.

City officials said earlier that tests had confirmed 28 definite cases and 17 probable cases of swine flu at the school.

An outbreak of swine flu has killed dozens in Mexico, where some St. Francis students recently went on spring break.

CDC Advises Against Nonessential Travel to Mexico 

The federal government is preparing a travel advisory instructing Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Mexico, the acting head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

Dr. Richard Besser made the disclosure during a news conference in Atlanta, saying the advisory was being released "out of an abundance of caution."

Besser also reported more than 40 confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States, including those in New York City.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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