CDC expects swine flu to hit summer camps

June 18, 2009 2:17:02 PM PDT
Insect bites, poison ivy, and scrapes aren't the only health problems parents need to worry about at summer camps.

The Centers for Disease Control expects the H1N1 swine flu virus to make its presence felt.

Boy Scouts reporting to Camp Daniel Boone this week in Asheville, North Carolina were being screened, after 10 who attended the same camp last week tested positive for swine flu.

For that reason, the CDC has posted guidance on their website to that camps can take proper precautions.

The advice to camp administrators and campers' parents is basically the same as for schools, said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of the flu division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

- Camps should be on the alert for sick children, who should be kept home for a week or until 24 hours after symptoms have finished.

- Parents should be prepared to bring sick children home on short notice.

- Aspirin should NOT be used for children with flu-like symptoms.

The American Camp Association says parents should know that not all camps offer refunds, should kids become sick.

Religious camps in Clayton, Ga., Santa Rosa, Calif., and Cleveland all reported probable swine flu cases in local newspapers this week.

For more camp guidance, click here.

The CDC also issued an alert for healthcare workers, saying many hospitals and clinics were not doing enough to prevent the spread of flu within their walls.

Preliminary analysis of 26 cases of swine flu among health care workers in April and May showed that too few hospital staff members were wearing masks, face guards and other protection, and that patients with flu were not being identified quickly enough.

"Infective patients should be identified at the front door," said Dr. Michael Bell, chief of infection control for the agency. "Identifying them up front is important."

Dr. Bell said it's important for hospitals to put infectious patients in single rooms, covering their coughs with masks. Staff members should also wear protection and wash their hands. And some procedures should be done in rooms pressurized to make sure no air escapes into corridors.

The CDC warning came as the Associated Press reported that 33 premature infants in a Greensboro, N.C., hospital were getting precautionary flu treatment because a respiratory therapist had worked in the neonatal intensive care unit after treating an older patient who later tested positive for the virus. None of the children had flu symptoms, a hospital administrator said.

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