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As always, the fluwiki and DemFromCT are the places and people to go to for your pandemic preparedness info.

But I've been following the "Potential Swine Flu Pandemic" story, and am as many of us (especially those of us in the Metropolitan --should that be capitalized? -- New York area) concerned about the news stories that tell us of flu mini-epidemics in a few area schools.

These are St. Francis Preparatory School (the largest Catholic prep school in the nation, they say), Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY (home of Bill and Hill), and Edmund W. Miles Middle School in Amityville (Metro types will probably argue that this last one is not Metro area -- ok).

75 students sick in the first, up to 150 in the second, dozens in the third.  And some fear that it's the same virus as in Mexico, especially since a number of St. Francis students had just returned from spring break visits to that country.

A quick look at the school websites themselves proved equivocal.  Then I hit upon the idea of checking the most local newspaper for each school.  Somewhat more enlightening.  If you are worried about this aspect of the "Potential Pandemic," head beneath the fold.  For the short version, see the "Bottom Line" (on the bottom, of course).

St. Francis in Flushing, Queens County
St. Francis website:
Most important news, posted yesterday 5 pm:  
75 kids became sick on Thursday (April 23).
Friday's International Night Cancelled.
Friday sports events to be held (all away games) as planned.
Board of Health "indicates" that school will be in regular session on Monday.

Since the illness had just struck, I did not expect to find much on this in the local papers or online news sources other than a mention of the Thursday flu rush, and didn't.  So one might posit that there has been no spread to the wider community, nor are there students in serious condition in local hospitals.  Please remember that a single case or two of meningitis at a college is at least regional, if not national, news...

Edmund W. Miles Middle School in Amityville
No mention of the illness on the school website
The most local news source, the Amityville Record  (friday 17 "several")
refers to

several students and staff members had came down with similar symptons—coughing, chills and low grade fevers.

this seems to have occurred on Friday the 17th.
Newsday reports on April 21

Three of the nearly 40 Amityville students and staff sickened last week have tested positive for a common form of influenza, a Suffolk County health department spokeswoman said Tuesday.

later referring to the disease as being confirmed as "influenza A."
Clearly, no deaths, no serious repercussions as:

Many of the students, mostly sixth-graders, have since returned to class, said Amityville superintendent John R. Williams.

and no spread to the wider community.

Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua
Last updated Friday the 17th, school closing early, all games cancelled.  School to open as usual on Monday.
The most local news source:
has a long article on the issue.  As of April 24, sounds like it was unpleasant but no serious repercussions, and certainly no deaths.  Also, no significant spread to the community or it would (one hopes) have been noted.

The Amityville epidemic appears not to have been the same as the Mexican/San Diego/Texas flu.
Jury is still out on the subject as far as the Chappaqua and St. Francis illness.

However, in all three instances, there were or have been no deaths, no serious complications, and no significant spread to families or other people in the community.  Thus these were more similar to the cases in San Diego and Texas than those in Mexico, OR perhaps the Mexican flu is more widespread than we have heard, and thus the mortality figures of 8% are artificially inflated.

Any comments out there, from Flu Mavens?
Keep alert, wash your hands, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, and be prepared but don't panic!

UPDATE From AP (and keep your eye on whatever DemFromCt is doing!)

New York health officials said more than 100 students at the private St. Francis Preparatory School, in Queens, had come down with a fever, sore throat and other aches and pains in the past few days. Some of their relatives also have been ill.
New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said nose and throat swabs had confirmed that eight students had a non-human strain of influenza type A, indicating probable cases of swine flu, but the exact subtypes were still unknown.
Samples had been sent to the CDC for more testing. Results were expected on Sunday.
The symptoms in the New York cases have all been mild, and no students have been hospitalized, Frieden said, but the illnesses have caused concern because of the deadly outbreak in Mexico.

Originally posted to lurkersince03 on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 11:03 AM PDT.




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