Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Swine Flu Cases Expected to Rise

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Swine Flu Cases Expected to Rise

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH JUDD

CASES of swine flu at a Teesside school could rise and spread beyond its walls, according to a top regional health official.

Teesside High School, in Eaglescliffe, became the first place in the area to report an outbreak of the virus, as reported yesterday.

Three year seven pupils have tested positive for the H1N1 virus, and yesterday all parents were invited to collect Tamiflu medication from a makeshift health centre at the school.

It has emerged the school contacted the Health Protection Agency on Thursday after "becoming concerned." Following confirmation of the outbreak at about 7pm on Saturday, the school put an emergency action plan into place on Sunday morning and telephoned all parents of its 370 pupils, advising them of a seven-day closure at the school.

Despite the school's prompt reaction, Peter Kelly, executive director of public health for Teesside, said: "I would expect there to be more cases. This would be completely consistent with what has happened across the rest of the country." He added it was "entirely possible" the disease would spread outside the school walls.

"We first of all need to understand how it's got to the school and where the affected children have been," he said..

Mr Kelly met parents who praised the school for its swift handling of the outbreak.

Sarah Mohammed, 47, who has three girls at the school, said: "It's come out of the blue but it's been dealt with very efficiently. The school has acted quite proactively and I have no concerns." Renu Sharma's daughters Shikha, 18 and Tanya, five, both attend the private school.

Renu, 42, said: "You hear about swine flu all the time but we were a little bit gobsmacked.

"I'm not really concerned. The school has done a really good job." Shikha was unfazed by the outbreak, as her A-level exam went ahead after the school implemented special measures for the tests. …

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