Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Lipsman advised school administrators this afternoon that classes and all extracurricular activities can resume immediately, based on the latest advice from state and federal authorities.
"As of 2 p.m. today, state and federal health authorities advised local health departments that because cases of swine flu in the U.S. have been comparable to seasonal flu, there is no need to close schools," Dr. Lipsman said. "I know the changing advice has caused confusion and posed a disruption and hardship to families and I sincerely regret that. My earlier recommendation and this announcement have been based on the latest information available to us from state and federal health authorities."
Lipsman said that anyone who visits, plays sports at or otherwise is in close contact with Rye Country Day School students can continue their usual routine without hesitation.
The school announced that it would reopen on Wednesday. (ON THE NET: www.ryecountryday.org
Westchester County also has been notified of another probable case of swine (H1N1) flu. This is the first probable case of swine flu in an adult. The person is a 25-year-old Tuckahoe man who has been recovering at home since April 27 and is doing well. He is otherwise healthy. He was in Cancun, Mexico from April 17 to 24 and developed mild flu-like symptoms on April 27, and was not hospitalized. He was tested prior to current guidelines limiting testing to hospitalized individuals or clusters of illnesses with risk factor for swine flu.
This brings the Westchester total to three probable cases and two confirmed cases. The two other probable cases involve two students at the Rye Country Day School and the two confirmed cases involve two children from Rye public schools.
In Connecticut, Fairfield University says it won't cancel classes or other activities now that two students have tested positive for swine flu.
Mark Reed, vice president for administration and student affairs, says workers have cleaned, put out sanitary wipes and encouraged students with flu-like symptoms to see a doctor.
The Fairfield University cases announced Tuesday are the third and fourth confirmed cases of swine flu in Connecticut.
State officials say five other Fairfield students have probable cases of swine flu, but those cases haven't been confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition, three children from Hartford, Ridgefield and Stonington are the latest cases of probable swine flu in the state.
Connecticut now has 12 probable cases and one inconclusive case. The Department of Public Health reported Tuesday that all of those people are recovering and did not need hospitalization.
State officials are sending samples taken from the three children to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if they are swine flu.
Health officials have also confirmed another case of swine flu in New Jersey.
The patient is a 12-year-old Camden County girl. Health officials say she traveled to an affected state. She did not go to school while sick and has recovered.
With Tuesday's addition, there are still seven confirmed cases in New Jersey because health officials say a clerical mistake was made in one case previously reported as confirmed. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says a 22-year old Bergen County woman did not have the swine flu strain.
MORE ON THE SWINE FLU
Swine flu is a respiratory infection caused by influenza type A viruses that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can occur. Human cases typically involve people who have had direct contact with pigs, but likely person-to-person transmission has now been reported in California, Texas, Mexico and New York City. Again, the cases in Mexico have had a high fatality rate, but the confirmed cases in the U.S. have been mild and all patients have recovered without treatment.
The symptoms of swine flu in people appear to be similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting as well. New Yorkers experiencing severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek health care and treatment. Otherwise, the health department recommends at-home care.
The most effective way to lower the risk of influenza transmission is for people with symptoms to stay home. All New Yorkers should cover their mouths when they cough. Additional precautions:
Swine influenza cannot be transmitted from eating pork or pork products.
For facts about influenza, and more information about swine flu, please visit the health department and CDC Web sites. Some specific resources:
From New York City Health Department
Facts about flu
From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
General information about swine flu
Swine Flu Case Definitions
Swine Flu Infection Control and Patient Care
Preventing the Flu