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Swine flu outbreaks hit 66 schools

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The return to school this month spurred thousands of swine flu outbreaks among children and parents, with cases jumping from 5,000 to 9,000 in a week, according to latest government figures.

A total of 66 English schools have reported new cases since term began, but dozens more could actually be affected because swine flu data is not systematically collected in schools, said chief medical officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson. When asked if 66 schools was a low number, he replied: ‘I think there will be more than that.’

Speaking a government briefing on swine flu yesterday, he suggested the so-called second wave of swine flu could have started to hit Britain already.

Schools should adopt simple preventative measures to lower the risk of swine flu to pupils, such as covering the mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing, throwing away used tissues immediately and washing hands with soap and water at regular intervals.

Sir Liam said: ‘Research across a lot of children’s diseases does show that this cuts the rate.

‘Parents of children (who have flu) with underlying illnesses should consult their doctor, and children with flu-like symptoms and whose condition deteriorates should consult their doctor because that might be an indication that they have serious complications of flu or have another serious illness of childhood,’ he said.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • The flu virus is spread by touching contaminated surfaces and breathing in particles that are coughed or sneezed into the air. People should actually be told to cough or sneeze into their sleeve or the crook of their elbow because when you cough into your hands the germs remain on the hands and then can be spread on everything that is touched. Hands should be washed with soap and water ASAP and frequently especially before eating and after using the toilet. Children should also be taught not to put their hands in their mouths.

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  • are we still talking actual confirmed cases here or people being treated for flu symptoms?

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