Area schools reopen after swine flu

May 6, 2009 7:25:12 AM PDT
What a difference a week makes. Last week the Centers for Disease Control told schools across the nation to consider canceling classes if a case of swine flu was confirmed or suspected.

Now those same officials are saying "nevermind," and more schools in in our area are reopening.

The CDC is saying instead of closing an entire school for a suspected case of swine flu -- parents can keep their affected kids at home.

On Wednesday, P.S. 177 in Queens , which serves special needs students, is joining the list.

There were five confirmed cases of the virus among the school's 500 students.

One of the students with swine flu symptoms has a sibling at St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows.

That school was the hotbed for the city's outbreak -- with more than 40 confirmed cases. St. Francis welcomed back students on Monday.

Also set to resume classes today is the Rye Country Day school. Officials there had decided to close for two weeks because of two suspected cases of the flu.

On Tuesday evening, however, the Westchester County health department gave the school permission to reopen.

"As of 2 p.m.Tuesday, 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."

The school announced that it would reopen on Wednesday. (ON THE NET:

As fears of the virus diminish, the CDC is confirming the first death of an American from swine flu.

The agency says a Texas woman died, but she had health problems even before she was exposed to the virus.

She was pregnant, too, but doctors were able to deliver her baby by C-section, shortly before her death.

  • Eyewitness News Swine Flu Resource Guide
  • Swine Flu Resource Guide
  • ON THE NET: NYC Health Info

    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:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.
  • 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