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Schools Face a Familiar Foe in Swine Flu

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Aired 9/8/09

Kids who started school today will soon face a double-barreled flu season, as seasonal flu and swine flu will both be a threat.

— Kids who started school today will soon face a double-barreled flu season, as seasonal flu and swine flu will both be a threat.

Swine flu appeared earlier this year and it's been linked to the deaths of more than 20 people in San Diego County. But swine flu so far has not proven to be highly virulent. And Brian Plew of San Diego-based Life Technologies says that the lack of virulence remains the case. Life Technologies makes equipment that tracks the swine flu precisely. It can even sequence the flu's genome. Plew says the H1N1 virus has not changed genetically. But it may still mutate, or mix with a more deadly virus, so global monitoring remains crucial.

"A mutation can occur anywhere," said Plew. "And with today's global village, that mutation could be transported with the same speed that we've seen this virus transmit around the globe."

Some San Diego County school districts are planning to offer flu vaccines to children at school sites.

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