Schools closed after fresh flu outbreak in New York

May 15th, 2009 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New York, May 15 (DPA) New York authorities Friday closed three high schools following reports of a new outbreak of the swine flu, or influenza A(H1N1), weeks after the city had the largest cluster of flu cases in the US.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York State Governor David Patterson ordered the closure for one week of the three schools in the Queens borough when new cases were detected. They said the new cases were not connected to the Saint Francis and Public School 177, where health authorities confirmed close to 50 flu cases in late April.

“While the symptoms of H1N1 flu seem to resemble those of seasonal flu, the H1N1 virus appears to spread rapidly,” local news reports quoted Bloomberg as saying. “So we’re closing these schools in order to slow transmission.”

“I think the mayor is right by asking that though there’d be some inconvenience, that this is the best procedure, to close these three schools for public safety and for the continued safety of the families involved,” Paterson said.

The schools that were closed are situated in Jamaica, Elmhurst and Corona, where thousands of students had to stay home while their classrooms were being cleaned and sanitized.

Bloomberg also urged New Yorkers who experienced flu symptoms to either stay home or seek medical attention if the symptoms appear severe.

Bloomberg in the meantime was losing his health commissioner, Thomas Frieden, who was nominated on Friday by US President Barack Obama to become the head of the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Frieden, 48, has been health commissioner for New York City for the past seven years and drew acclaim for handling the outbreak of swine flu in the city of more than eight million residents.

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