CDC Confirms Swine Flu at Queens School

Strain sickening students same as one found in Mexico, officials say

By MELISSA RUSSO
|  Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009  |  Updated 3:13 PM CDT
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Swine Flu Origins Probed

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Students at a Queens prep school have tested "probable" for swine flu, according to New York City health officials.

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Swine Flu Origins Probed

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Classes and student activities have been canceled at the Queens private school where eight students came down with swine flu. City officials say the flu strain that sickened those students is the same strain as the one that has sickened more than 1,000 people in Mexico.

St. Francis Preparatory School will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. The school posted the announcement on its Web site, and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the eight cases.

Preliminary tests of samples taken from sick students' noses and throats confirmed that at least eight had a non-human strain of influenza type A, indicating probable cases of swine flu, city health officials said.

In Mexico, health officials say a strain of swine flu has killed up to 81 people and sickened more than 1,000.

The priority right now is to determine whether anyone in New York gets seriously ill from this. There are no such reports of severe illness. Samples from two Manhattan families sick after recent visits to Mexico came back negative.

Family members of the students with swine flu also have become ill, suggesting the strain is spreading quickly. Symptoms so far have been mild and treatable at home.

Also in New York, several children have become sick at a Bronx day-care center. Five of six samples taken came back negative for swine flu. The sixth was less clear and the test is being repeated.

City officials are urging the public to take extra precautions even if you have just mild symptoms. They're recommending people to stay home for at least 48 hours after flu symptoms go away.

Despite the sensitivity of the situation, Bloomberg also tried to remind New Yorkers not to panic.

"Go about your business and enjoy the weather," he said Sunday.

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