Suspected Swine Flu Scare Keeps 25 Students Home

Twenty-five fourth-grade students stayed home Monday

Health officials in northeastern Connecticut believe suspected cases of the swine flu kept more than 25 Brooklyn Elementary School students home on Monday.

The Northeast District Department of Health was notified on Monday of increased numbers of students calling out sick in one fourth grade classroom, but it has not received lab results that confirm cases of the virus.

Two Brooklyn residents tested positive for Influenza type A. Swine flu, or H1N1, is a type A influenza strain.

"Currently, people who become ill with influenza are not being tested for the actual H1N1 virus unless they require hospitalization or have been identified as part of a cluster, so it's difficult to determine if the cases being reported are actually the H1N1 flu," said Patrick McCormack, Interim Director of Health for NDDH.

McCormack also said that H1N1 accounts for approximately 95 percent of flu cases nationwide, and there is likely increased H1N1 activity in schools.  

Brooklyn school officials reported 25 students out of 88 in the fourth grade students were absent on Monday, but said there could be many different reasons for absenteeism.

Letters sent home to parents on Tuesday alerted them to an increase in flu-like illness among students and staff, and that some of those individuals might have swine flu. Parents are asked to keep sick children home.

The school plans to keep parents notified about absenteeism, flu activity and its impact on the school. The school is following CDC, state and local guidance and remains open at this time.

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