More swine flu cases reported in Southeast Missouri school district

Thursday, August 27, 2009 ~ Updated 2:32 PM

DONIPHAN, Mo. -- Two additional cases of H1N1, also known as swine flu, were confirmed Wednesday in the Doniphan School District, the Daily American Republic reported.

Officials confirmed Monday that the first student there was sick with the virus. At least two of the students with the virus have a direct connection, according to officials.

In all three cases, the students are at home and doing well on medication, said Ripley County Public Health Center Director Jan Morrow. She could not release the ages of the students.

"We expected this," Morrow said. "We think we will probably have more positive cases. (Health officials) have predicted we will have periodic cases."

The Doniphan School District will continue to monitor the situation, but still believes it is in the best interest of the students to continue with classes, said Superintendent Kevin Sandlin.

"This is a difficult decision to make. We are working closely with the health department to determine what we believe is best for everyone," Sandlin said. "We have 1,450 students of 1,600 in school. At this point, business has to go on. We feel it is in the best interest of kids to be in school."

Sandlin stressed that anyone who believes they are sick should see their doctor and stay home.

"If you or your child are sick, please do not be out in public, other than when you absolutely have to," he said. "We're keeping an eye on this and we don't want to do anything to continue it."

The school is taking preventive measures, encouraging students to wash their hands, distributing hand sanitizer and disinfecting surfaces, Sandlin said.

"If we weren't prepared, things would be progressing more rapidly," he continued. "It is a credit to the health department, (our staff) and parents that we are where we are now."

The health center is working with the medical community, and parents, who have all been very cooperative, Morrow said.

"If everyone in the community will join with us in this fight, we hope to slow it down," she said.

Morrow also advises members of the public to wash their hands frequently; to see a doctor if they are sick or have a temperature; and to stay home if they are sick.

Sandlin recommends anyone with questions about H1N1 call the health department. The district will be providing parents with additional information today and as the situation progresses.

Community members are concerned, Morrow said, and the health center is trying to reassure them.

"This is what the county health department is here for, to be a resource," she said.

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