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Swine flu cases reported at local schools

September 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A number of swine flu cases have been reported at local schools. Despite all of the efforts to teach kids to wash their hands the L.A. County Department of Health is reporting swine flu outbreaks at two elementary schools, a high school and a university.

"Recently we have four confirmed outbreaks due to pandemic H1N1," said Dr. David Dassie from the L.A. County Dept. of Health. "There are a number of other situations we will be investigating."

A spokesman from Glendale Unified School District confirms H1N1 outbreaks at three of its schools. The district has sent out recorded warning messages to its entire student body.

"They gave us letters at our school that talk about the swine flu and how to prevent it," said student John Canlas. "So I am starting to become really cautious."

Officials say schools aren't testing specifically for the H1N1 virus, but infectious disease experts say 98 percent of Influenza A out there is probably swine flu.

"In the event you need to sneeze or cough cover your mouth and your nose," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. "Try to sneeze in the bend of your elbow."

O'Connell says proper hygiene is the best defense and do not send your child to school if they are sick.

The H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available the first week of October. But many parents are expressing concern about its safety.

Health officials say it is a powerful prevention tool that will save lives.

"The vaccine being promoted now is made exactly the same way as flu vaccines have been made for many years," said Dr. Dassie. "So there is no reason to think that this vaccine is going to behave any differently."

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