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62 People Tested For Swine Flu In Louisiana

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04/30/2009 09:41 AM

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62 People Tested For Swine Flu In Louisiana
62 People Tested For Swine Flu In Louisiana

No Cases Confirmed, But Lafayette School Closes

Sixty-two people in Louisiana have given swab samples to be tested for possible swine flu, a state Department of Health and Hospitals spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Those 62 people have submitted a total of 97 swabs for testing. One of the tests belongs to an 8-year-old boy who showed up at a Tulane University clinic in uptown New Orleans with flu-like symptoms Wednesday.

A Tulane spokesman told WDSU that Louisiana State Police took a swab sample from the boy, who has been around people who recently traveled to Mexico, to a lab in Metairie to be tested.

"We're assisting DHH, getting samples to the Metairie lab from troop areas all around the state," said Louisiana State Police spokesman Trooper Joe Piglia. "Some troop areas have delivered them to us and some troop areas we've actually gone out and picked them up from the doctor whenever they are suspecting a possible case."

Meanwhile, Gov. Bobby Jindal said a Lafayette school has shut down while five students are tested for possible swine flu, or H1N1.

"Five students tested positive for Flu Strain A from this school," Jindal said.

The sixth-graders at the private Cathedral Carmel school have Type A flu, which includes swine flu, Jindal said. One of those students has been to Mexico in the past two weeks.

The school has agreed to close Thursday and Friday until test results have been returned.

"This does not necessarily mean that the influenza cases are swine flu," Jindal said.

If a more detailed state test cannot rule out swine flu, the samples will go to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Parents of all school-age children in the area were concerned about a possible swine flu outbreak.

School leaders said they're monitoring the situation closely. They said they don't want to alarm people unnecessarily.

Some parents said they're taking a wait-and-see approach.

Mia Miller walked the family dog on Wednesday with her children. She said talk of swine flu is running rampant.

"More people die from the regular flu every year than from this pandemic, if it really becomes one," she said.

Miller said her children are aware of the virus, but she's not ready to panic just yet.

"They seem to be talking about it at school," she said. "Kids are washing their hands more. I think that's great."

The Recovery School District sent letters home to parents Wednesday, urging that if children have flu-like symptoms to contact the school and a physician immediately.

The district will send out an alert should there be an emergency.

It's a state of high alert for some and wait-and-see for others.

"I am going to wait and see what develops," said parent Stephen Scandurro. "I was not aware of the situation in Lafayette. But I'm not terribly concerned, not yet anyway."

School leaders are also advising parents not to send their children to school if they notice flu-like symptoms.

School districts said they are taking extra measures to safeguard staff and students. That includes making sure buses are sanitized each night and making sure that there is extra soap in school restrooms for hand washing.

The H1N1 virus spread to 10 U.S. states from coast to coast Wednesday and swept deeper into Europe, extending its global reach as the U.S. was hit with the first flu death outside of Mexico -- a Mexican toddler who had traveled with his family to Texas.

Total American cases surged to nearly 100. The World Health Organization said the outbreak is moving closer to becoming a full-scale pandemic

[link to www.wdsu.com]
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