• Directory of Taiwan

US no longer advising schools close for swine flu

U.S. health officials are no longer recommending that schools close if students come down with swine flu, the government said Tuesday.
Last week, schools were advised to shut down for about two weeks if there were suspected cases of swine flu. Hundreds of schools around the United States have followed the government's guidance and closed schools, giving students an unexpected vacation and leaving parents scrambling for child care.
"We no longer feel that school closure is warranted," said Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the swine flu virus had turned out to be milder than feared and the government decided to change its advice. So far, the virus has not proved to be more infectious or deadly than the seasonal flu.
The CDC said parents should still make sure to keep sick children with flulike symptoms at home for seven days.
As the threat seemed to diminish, health officials also considered the problems the closings were creating for parents, Besser said. Officials were hearing about children getting dropped off at libraries, or parents who couldn't take sick leave to care for their children.
"The downsides of school closure start to outweigh the benefits," Besser said.
The change in guidance was made in consultation with the White House and other officials, Besser and others said.
An estimated 726 public and nonpublic schools were closed Tuesday for flu-related reasons, in 24 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Education Department. In total, these schools enroll approximately 468,000 students on a typical day. (There are more than 100,000 schools in the U.S., with about 55 million students.)
The number of confirmed swine flu cases in the United States is now over 400, with hundreds more probable cases. The CDC knows of 35 swine flu-related hospitalizations and one death, a Mexican toddler who died in Texas.
On the Net:

Updated : 2021-07-29 06:30 GMT+08:00