Breaking News From Gateway Regional School District: Flu Update

Wendy V. Long, Editor of Breaking News From Gateway writes:

Good afternoon:

The Gateway Regional School District is seeing growing numbers of absences of students who have Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI). Health officials are presuming that people who show ILI right now have Swine Flu. Parents are asked not to send students to school if they have flu-like symptoms. Students who are ill should not return to school until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without the use of products like Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

Read more here: Hilltown Families Community Bulletin Board

First Confirmed Cases of Swine Flu in MA

CDC Confirms Swine Flu in Two School-Aged Massachusetts Residents

The Patrick Administration today announced the first confirmed cases of swine influenza in Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health DPH, the patients, two school-age residents of Middlesex County, are considered to have a mild case of the disease and are expected to make a complete recovery. Neither child attended school at any point during their illness, and their parents did not go to work during that time. Massachusetts is the sixth state to have confirmed cases of swine flu; there are now a total of 66 confirmed cases in the United States.

Click HERE to read the official statement.

Find Out About Swine Flu

The Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services has posted general information about Swine Flu here www.mass.gov/dph/swineflu, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted information here www.cdc.gov/swineflu.

John Auerbach, 
Commissioner 
Massachusetts Department of Public Health writes:

As I am sure you know by now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 20 cases of swine flu in humans in the U.S. (64 cases as of April 28, 2009 11:00 AM ET). While there are currently no cases in Massachusetts, we take the situation very seriously.

Under the leadership of Governor Patrick and Secretary Bigby, we have prioritized efforts to better prepare for public health concerns – mobilizing multiple agencies in health and public safety to join forces and plan for scenarios similar to this one.  Currently several efforts are being undertaken to insure that we minimize illness and harm to the public.

While this is a serious matter and one that requires all Massachusetts residents to be aware and prepared, there is no reason to be overly alarmed.   We are still early in the public health investigation of this outbreak but we are encouraged by the fact that the confirmed US cases have involved relatively mild illness and all those affected have fully recovered.

There are steps that everyone can take to help prevent getting or spreading any type of influenza:

  1. Become aware of the facts.  We encourage everyone to visit the CDC’s new web site at www.cdc.gov/swineflu.  We also have some very good information on how to care for someone at home who has the flu on our DPH web site. And DPH has its own regularly updated blog at www.mass.gov/blog/publichealth.
  2. Practice good health hygiene.  Disease transmission can be significantly reduced by taking the following actions:
    •    Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
    •    Practice good “cough etiquette” by coughing or sneezing into a tissue, or into your elbow instead of into your hands.
    •    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.

As with every public health investigation, the situation will likely change many times, and we will do our best to keep you and the residents of Massachusetts updated as the situation evolves.  Thanks in advance for your patience and for your help in spreading the message about the importance of prevention.  Please check our web site, www.mass.gov/dph, for updates.

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