NJ school closed due to possible flu cases

May 4, 2009 4:04:32 PM PDT
Hainesport School was closed Monday and will be closed Tuesday, too, pending state test results on two possible flu cases. Burlington County health officials recommended that the Hainesport Township School temporarily close as a precaution on Monday and Tuesday, May 4 and 5, due to two students with physician diagnosed flu-like symptoms.

Samples were taken at a local hospital to be sent to the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services lab for preliminary testing to determine if the children have influenza.

If test results are negative for influenza, the school will be advised that it can reopen Wednesday. If the results indicate probable H1N1 Influenza A (swine flu), the samples will be sent to the CDC for confirmation testing and the school will be advised to remain closed until those test results are received.

If confirmed positive, the health department will continue to monitor the situation for further determination on when school is safe to resume.

"This precaution is to reduce contact among children and stop the spread of the flu," said Public Health Officer Robert Gogats.

The CDC and health departments have been advising people to stay home if they are sick. Students with a fever and respiratory symptoms such as sore throat or cough must remain at home for at least seven days from the onset of their symptoms and 24 hours after their symptoms resolve.

"The health of our children is our first concern and we are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of any infection," said Dr. Mark Silverstein, Superintendant of Schools for Hainesport Township. The school was thoroughly cleaned Saturday.

The students, a boy and a girl, are unrelated and in different grades. Parents were notified of the closing Sunday by phone tree and will be notified by phone tree after results are known whether the school is reopening Wednesday.

"Parents should consider this as protective to the health of their children and not as cause for alarm," Gogats said. "Everyone should take responsibility for good hygiene and remind their children to do the same."

In order to prevent the spread of illness, residents are continued to be advised to:

- cover coughs and sneezes (use tissues and dispose of them immediately ? or cough into elbow if a tissue is not available)
- avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- wash hands frequently ? especially after coughing and sneezing

Residents should contact their doctors if family members are having any symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of influenza include fever of 100.4 or more, and can include coughing, sore throat, fatigue and lack of appetite.

For questions, call the state health department hotline at 1-866-321-9571 or 2-1-1.

RELATED INFORMATION:

FAQs about swine flu
Additional swine flu resources
Transcript of 6abc.com's swine flu chat with local experts

RELATED LINKS:

CDC Swine Flu site
World Health Organization

RELATED INTERACTIVE:

Swine flu cases around the world

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