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Hart district remains pro-active against swine flu

Infection period for the illness has most likely passed, officials say

Posted: May 28, 2009 2:29 p.m.
Updated: May 28, 2009 2:29 p.m.

A single case of swine flu reported at a local school appears not to have spread, district officials said Wednesday.

William S. Hart Union High School District officials are continuing to monitor absences at Sierra Vista Junior High School following this week’s confirmed case of swine flu at the junior high school, the district spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“We have not seen any unusual increase in flu-like symptoms at the school,” Pat Willett said.

The school remains on the lookout for any students who are coughing and sneezing, Willett said. When found, those students are sent to the health office and their parents are asked to come pick them up, she said.

The school has not reported an unusual number of absences as the infection period has most likely passed, Willett said.

“Because we have passed the incubation period for that one student, anyone who had contact with the student would have come down with it by now,” Willett said.

At least two Sierra Vista parents said Wednesday they weren’t too worried about the confirmed case in their children’s school.

“There’s always a little concern. It is a health situation. But at the same time, there’s other types of influenza going around and there hasn’t been as much attention paid toward them,” said Lisa Wright, of Canyon Country, whose 13-year-old daughter attends the junior high. “We need to focus on them as well, rather than just getting paranoid.”

As a nurse, Wright said she’s always pushed her children to practice good hygiene, but she is reminding them to wash their hands more often.

The illness happened between 10 and 12 days ago, Willett said.

The Hart district was only able to confirm the swine flu diagnosis Tuesday after reporting it to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, she said.

“That child has not been back in school,” she said.

Public Health recently stopped testing for swine flu in isolated cases unless there is an outbreak or a person is hospitalized, said Dr. Laurene Mascola, chief of acute communicable diseases for the Los Angeles County Health Department.

“If a person is just sick for a couple of days and just gets better, it’s not that critical to do specialized testing,” she said.

Private doctors are still able to order tests for swine flu, she said.

Sierra Vista Principal Randy Parker led a group of teachers through Public Health’s frequently asked questions about swine flu and assured them that Public Health determined the confirmed case is “no more serious than what we call the normal flu,” he said. They also discussed taking proper hygiene precautions, such as making sure students put used tissues in waste baskets and wash their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.

He said students do not seemed stressed out about the case.

“They’re not nervous about being around each other,” he said. “We’re hoping to weather this, kids will hopefully wash their hands, stay healthy and we’ll get to summer vacation,” he said.



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