State Health Secretary John Colmers and state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick joined local health and education officials Monday to discuss plans for handling swine flu in school this fall. Grasmick said the state was developing a plan for when to close schools and cancel extracurricular activities, if necessary. The state also was planning how to best isolate sick students and communicate with parents. Health officials say the number of U.S. flu cases could soar in the fall after schools open. The virus has caused an unusual number of serious illnesses among teens and young adults, while seasonal flu usually is hardest on the elderly and very young. Four people in the state have died so far from the swine flu, Baltimore Sun reports.
As if the world didn't have enough problems in developing a vaccine against the new H1N1 influenza virus, commonly known as swine flu, reports from the Southern Hemisphere suggest there may be problems with the seasonal flu vaccine that has been produced for this winter's flu season.
The Canadian Press reports that some laboratory tests indicate there is a new strain of the H3N2 flu virus -- one of three strains included in the flu vaccine -- that is different from the A/Brisbane/10 strain of H3N2 that was selected for the vaccine. If that is the case, the vaccine will provide less protection than authorities had hoped , Chicago Tribune reports.
School will start within two weeks and while the Department of Health and Hospitals is no longer recommending schools close if students are diagnosed with H1N1, they are advising people to stay at home if they are ill, Monroe News Star reports.