Thursday, October 22, 2009
Outbreaks of swine flu have occurred in at least 29 schools in San Diego County over the past three weeks, it was reported today.
Some of the affected schools have been hit with absentee rates of 20 percent of more in a particular class, grade or across the student body, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
County public health officials told the newspaper that the flu being caused by the H1N1 virus is likely circulating at all other local campuses but further testing is needed to confirm it.
"We know this virus is widespread throughout the community, and that includes our schools,'' Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger said.
The number of people hospitalized countywide with swine flu since the pandemic began earlier this year stands at 348 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Since June, 25 San Diego County residents have died from swine flu, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. The latest death, reported Wednesday, involved a 31-year-old woman with pre-existing medical conditions, the agency reported.
In addition to the 25 residents, three people have died from swine flu while visiting San Diego this year. They are not included in local statistics but are counted in their hometowns, according to the HHSA.
More than 1,000 confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in San Diego County this year, but most cases have not led to hospitalization, the agency reported.
County health officials have urged members of the public to stay home from work or school if they have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. Those with underlying medical conditions who experience flu-like symptoms are urged to contact their doctors.