Tuesday, May 5, 2009

CDC Eases Guidance for School Closures

"Closing schools once a student falls ill with swine flu may no longer be worth the toll on students and families, because the illness will soon be present almost everywhere in the country and few cases have been severe, federal health authorities said Monday.

“Closing schools is not effective” in halting the spread of the virus, said Dr. Richard E. Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new advice is part of a gradual easing of concerns over swine flu. While the disease continues to spread around the world, it is far less deadly than initially feared. And in Mexico, where the outbreak apparently had its origins, new cases have begun to ebb.

The closings were intended not only to protect students but also to slow the spread of the virus, because schools can serve as viral transport hubs. But on Monday, the disease centers reported 279 confirmed cases of swine flu in 36 states — up from 226 in 30 states on Sunday — and more than 700 probable cases in 44 states.

With the virus almost everywhere, school closings will no longer have much effect. Only 35 people have been hospitalized with the virus."

In New York, A school reopens after 10 days closed:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the reopening at Saint Francis, a Catholic Church-run school in the Queens neighborhood that saw the biggest single outbreak of the virus outside of Mexico.
"It is good to see you. Things are back to normal. Let's go back to work," said the headmaster.

The city believes as many as 1,000 people in New York have been infected, the bulk at Saint Francis, but that more testing is unnecessary.

City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said that it was too early to let down the guard, particularly since a second A(H1N1) wave is expected to strike in autumn, along with the usual seasonal flu.

Updated CDC Guidance: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/K12_dismissal.htm

  • School closure is not advised for a suspected or confirmed case of novel influenza A (H1N1) and, in general, is not advised unless there is a magnitude of faculty or student absenteeism that interferes with the school’s ability to function.
  • Schools that were closed based on previous interim CDC guidance related to this outbreak may reopen.


CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/index.htm

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