Obama: Schools with flu may have to close

April 29, 2009 9:50:39 AM PDT
President Barack Obama said Wednesday that schools with confirmed cases of swine flu should consider closing. Speaking at the White House, Obama said he wants Americans to know the government is doing "whatever is necessary" to contain the emerging health threat, which was officially blamed for a U.S. death for the first time Wednesday.

  • Swine Flu Resource Guide
  • Obama also conveyed his thoughts and prayers for the family of the 23-month-old child in Texas who became the nation's first reported death. The president's remarks came at an event welcoming Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party, and hours before Obama's evening televised news conference.

    "This is obviously a serious situation," Obama said, that "we are closely and continuously monitoring." He urged local authorities to be vigilant in reporting any suspected flu cases.

    Obama said it is the recommendation of public health officials that authorities at schools with confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu "should strongly consider temporarily closing so that we can be as safe as possible."

    He advised parents to get ready for such disruptions.

    "If the situation becomes more serious and we have to take more extensive steps, then parents should also think about contingencies if schools in their areas do temporarily shut down, figuring out and planning what their child care situation would be," Obama advised.

    Just moving children from schools to day care centers in infected areas "is not a good solution," he said.

    Obama said the federal government is "prepared to do whatever is necessary to control the impact of this virus." He noted his request for $1.5 billion in emergency funding to ensure adequate supplies of vaccines.

    And he advised individuals to take their own precautions - washing hands, staying home if they are sick, and keeping sick kids home.

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    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

    For facts about influenza, and more information about swine flu, please visit the Health Department and CDC websites. Some specific resources:

    From New York City Health Department

    Facts about flu
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/cd/cdinflu.shtml

    From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    General information about swine flu
    http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/general_info.htm

    Swine Flu Case Definitions
    http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/casedef_swineflu.htm

    Swine Flu Infection Control and Patient Care
    http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/guidelines_infection_control.htm

    Preventing the Flu
    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm


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