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SoCal summer campers deal with swine flu

July 27, 2009 7:41:24 AM PDT
SoCal summer campers are seeing an unwanted guest at camp: Swine flu. Kids living in close quarters means swine flu can spread quickly and easily.Health officials said what's happening at summer camps is just a preview of what's going to happen when the school year begins. Some fear a vaccine may not be available in time to stop the spread of the virus.

In Southern California and other parts of the country, particularly the northeast, swine flu is ruining summer vacations.

The L.A. Times reports hundreds of kids have been sent home from sleep-away camps in Southern California in recent weeks due to flu-like symptoms, including camps in Simi Valley and Ojai.

So far, most reported flu cases have been mild.

To try and prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus, nurses are examining kids before they board camp-bound buses.

School districts are working with health officials to launch education campaigns and stock up on medical supplies in preparation for flu outbreaks in the fall.

"The experience of swine flu in summer camps has really taught us how easily this virus can be transmitted in a residential setting of young people," said Dr. Dora Ann Mills, public health director of Maine.

The importance of washing hands and coughing etiquette is being drilled into kids at camp.

California health officials have received reports of flu outbreaks at 16 camps in eight counties.

Since the swine flu virus was first detected, nearly 600 people have been hospitalized in California, and there have been 61 deaths in the state.

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