April 26, 2009
The following document is provided to you in order to answer any questions you may have about the recent news report of swine flu confirmed in a non public school in Queens. We have been working closely today with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regarding guidance for this situation. It is very important to be alert to this situation, but also to be calm. If you need more information please call 311 or your family physician.
Swine flu is a respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses that regularly cause outbreaks in pigs. There have been reports of serious illness and deaths due to swine flu in Mexico, but the recently confirmed cases in the United States have been mild.
Swine flu symptoms are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, lethargy, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu.
So far only one school, St. Francis Preparatory in Queens, is closed. There is no reason for anyone else to keep healthy children at home. If a child has fever or a respiratory illness they should be kept home from school until they have recovered.
The student will be evaluated by the nurse. If the nurse believes that the student may have influenza, the child will be separated from other students and sent home. The student should not take the school bus. Students with symptoms of flu should not return to school until they have been symptom-free for 1 to 2 days.
The person will go home and not return to school until 1-2 days after they become symptom free.
Hard surfaces that may have been contaminated by the ill child will be cleaned with disinfectant.
Yes. Antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). It is particularly important for people who have severe illness and for those with underlying illness (such as diabetes, heart, or lung disease) to be treated.
Swine flu viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human-to-human transmission is also possible, and appears to be occurring with this outbreak. Spread is mainly through coughing or sneezing. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Here are the best ways to avoid getting or spreading swine influenza:
These are the same protections as those for seasonal flu and many other respiratory infections.