High school sends 3 home with swine flu


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— Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Shalee Cunningham alerted parents Friday to three cases of swine flu at Steamboat Springs High School.

"This memo is to let you know that we do have three confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus at the high school," Cunningham wrote in an e-mail. "The students have been sent home and will remain home until the symptoms have passed. It is not our intent to close schools; we are treating this like any other influenza."

Health care professionals here say it is almost certain the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as swine flu, is making the rounds in Steamboat. However, they add that they would be surprised if local clinics had sent patient samples to the state health lab for the additional testing needed to confirm that a case of type A influenza was the H1N1 virus.

One possible explanation behind the confirmed diagnoses they say, is that it's unusually early to see cases of seasonal flu, and mid-September diagnoses are a strong indicator of swine flu.

Mary Dierdorff, head nurse at Steamboat Medical Group, said her clinic has diagnosed patients, including students at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University, with type A influenza. But not only have they not confirmed they were cases of H1N1 virus, they haven't even sent patients' nasal test swabs to the state health lab for the needed additional testing.

"It's most likely that it's H1N1," Dierdorff said. "But we have to meet criteria to send them to the state. You have to be really sick for us to send them in."

For Steamboat families

intent on caring for their youngsters, the discussion about whether it's H1N1 or not may be academic. That's because health providers here agree that the treatment for all symptoms and treatment for all strains of type A influenza are the same.

"For us, these cases are confirmed because the parents (of the students) told us their physicians have confirmed them," said Dot Haberlan, team leader for school health services in Routt County public schools with the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

Haberlan's colleague at the VNA, public health nurse Janice Poirot, said many health care providers see no benefit to taking the extra step of confirming whether a flu patient has H1N1.

"Just knowing that it's type A flu drives the treatment," she said.

Dierdorff said depending on how far the bug has progressed, doctors may prescribe anti-viral medication that doesn't cure the flu but lessens the severity of the symptoms.

Often, Haberlan said, flu patients don't even know they are sick until they've had the disease for several days.

"You can shed virus (meaning you are contagious) for several days and give it to someone else before you even know you have it," Haberlan said.

For that reason and others, Haberlan and Cunningham agree that closing school to decrease the possibility the flu will spread is undesirable.

However, Cunningham said school officials have begun research that could be used to make a decision about closing the schools should the severity and number of flu cases become a greater concern.


kathy foos 7 years, 8 months ago

How can you start your headline like that if its not a confirmed case ? Are you trying to start a panic?Wouldnt it be more productive to publish the symptoms,and say the truth that they are possible cases?Sometimes your paper reminds me of the Enquirer.Shame on you.


exduffer 7 years, 8 months ago

Do some homework sun. The CDC's standard protocol is to not do additional tests for H1N1. If someone gets extremely sick from a flu bug it is good to know what strain it is. If they just have normal flu symptoms it is a waste of time and money to do additional tests. Some people blame doctors on our high health costs, sounds more it is people like sun.


kathy foos 7 years, 8 months ago

The point that I was making is that the newspaper made a mistake by stating a fact that swine flu was in the schools,later in the article they state it might or might not be..Why not say,High School send three home with possible Swine flu?!Is that so wrong?Am I driving the system down the tube?Are you having a bad morning or what?"


Brian Kotowski 7 years, 8 months ago

sun -

Why is panic and/or outrage your default reaction? The article contains all the information you've asked for. Lighten up.


freerider 7 years, 8 months ago

Gotta agree with sun.....shame on you pilot ...the headline should read....three students sent home might have swine flu .... might have it !!....almost certain it's swine flu ....maybe swine flu .....hey we'll let you know what it is ...probably it's swine flu .... I'll bet you it's swine flu...hey maybe it's some bad food from the cafeteria...that will make you sick...maybe it's food poisoning...or bacteria...or maybe the pilot should research this...hey Tom Ross ...[ not picking on you here ] my first question would have been have any of these three kids had a flu shot recently ?? There are already a lot of reports of bad reactions to it. Including getting sick and the shots can cause the virus to spread . Why don't you do a piece on what goes into a flu shot ...here's a little sample for ya ...thimerisol , that's mercury , one of the most toxic substances you can stick in your body..squalene ...if injected will harm your immune system , glycol , that's anti freeze , is the FDA trying to help us here or just insult us...


kathy foos 7 years, 8 months ago

The reason that I mention it that we have been made aware of this strain for quite a while by the media,even deaths,is it less virulent now?I read the news and like to believe that the leading headline exactly matches what it says,if I am scanning something over I might not read the whole article at times and depend on the press to be totally factual on the head line.Sorry......And as to why I felt contrite for a few mooments[I am better now] Because big meany accused me of ruining the system.You have to admit that I dont deserve that.Its O.K. Im stupid too sometimes,thanks for asking....


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