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SP Swine Flu Watch

SP schools monitor confirmed flu cases

By Rupert Howell

School officials on Monday reported two confirmed cases of influenza in the South Panola District but stated that nothing conclusive has indicated that it is positively Swine Flu, the H1N1 virus that has drawn global attention.

District Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer said Monday morning that letters were being drafted to be sent home that afternoon to parents advising of steps to take to help prevent spreading of germs and guidelines for those regarding the illness.

Although the cases have not been confirmed as swine flu, Shaffer said the timing of the illness is unusual as influenza usually begins showing up “in the dead winter.”

Of the two reported influenza cases, one was in Batesville Elementary School and the other in Batesville Intermediate.

Shaffer said school personnel have begun preventative measures with extensive hand washing, wiping things down, looking for symptoms and advising parents to keep feverish children at home.

Shaffer said the district’s goal was to act appropriately and not to over react. He said the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stressed treating each student with symptoms as the flu.

As of last week, Panola County had recorded eight confirmed cases of H1N1 while there were 365 cases confirmed in the state. No influenza cases had been recorded in North Panola School District Monday morning nor were any suspected cases reported at North Delta School.

Shaffer said at least one diagnosed student’s “high fever had broken. We’re on the upside of that,” he said.

“The CDC has warned that influenza will be more active this season than in the past,” Shaffer said adding, “Hopefully this is one of the times when they are wrong.”