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School to close down as 14 test positive

As many as 14 students in just one city school have tested positive for swine flu in a span of five days.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
July 21, 2009 3:48:53 am

As many as 14 students in just one city school have tested positive for swine flu in a span of five days. The English medium school at Karve Road has finally decided to close down on Tuesday.

Till now,only one division of Class VIII of the school was closed for five days,but with three more students testing positive on Monday,the school management has decided to close the school for a day and called a meeting of parents to discuss the issue.

Out of 39 H1N1 cases reported in Maharashtra so far,Pune has emerged the runaway leader with 22 cases having tested positive.

A decision on whether the school should be shut for an indefinite period will be taken at Tuesday’s meeting,the school principal said. Nearly 1,000 parents of the pre-primary,primary and secondary students have been told to attend the meeting.

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Among the issues likely to be discussed are whether healthy children should observe home quarantine if the school remains shut for an indefinite period. Also,if the affected divisions remain closed,will the healthy children in these classes stop venturing out of their homes?

“So far,the infected students were only from Lotus division of Standard VIII. On Monday,three more children were confirmed positive for the flu out of which one is from Standard V and another from Rose division of Standard VIII,” says Dr R R Katti,Deputy Director of Health Services,who is also the nodal officer for contact tracing. In a late evening development,one more student from Standard VIII tested positive.

“Students can come in contact with each other by sharing auto-rickshaws,at playgrounds or at tuition classes. Even if we direct parents to tell their children to observe home quarantine,what is the surety that they will do so,” asks Katti. It is a huge challenge in front of the local health authorities to contain the spread of the virus,he said.

However,Dr R R Pardeshi,Chief Medical Officer,Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) insists that there is no need to panic and says parents should not worry.

“This is a highly contagious disease,but the virus is mild and can be treated. Since it is a new virus we do not have antibodies to fight it and hence it is catching the young,” said Pardeshi who is planning to list dos and don’ts at Tuesday’s meeting.

It all started when a boy from Class VIII passed the infection after catching it himself from his 16-year-old cousin who had travelled to the US as part of American Field Service’s student exchange programme that ended this month with the students returning to Delhi on July 8.

There were 40 students in the exchange programme of which nine were from Maharashtra. Five have already tested positive for the flu. Since then,the school has faced a steady rise in the number of students catching the infection.

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