Skip to comments.MBA Shuts Down Over H1N1 Concerns 2 Other Possible Cases In Tennessee
Posted on 04/30/2009 9:02:45 PM PDT by OrangeDaisy
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The headmaster of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville announced late Thursday afternoon that the school will be closed on Friday and for up to seven days over concerns related to the H1N1 flu virus.
Headmaster Brad Gioia said the decision was prompted after a student appears to have the virus.
Gioia said the student was taken to an area hospital, treated, released and was resting at home. The school notified MBA parents about the school's closure at about 5 p.m.
"It is concerning," said MBA parent Worrick Robinson. "I don't remember anything of this magnitude coming through the school system. They are very rarely out of school, and to close school for seven days tells me it is very serious."
The state said Wednesday that a child from Williamson County has a possible case of H1N1 flu, and also announced Thursday there is another possible case in west Tennessee.
Gov. Phil Bredesen said at a news conference that the Williamson County case involves a child who attends Harding Academy in Davidson County. The child had not visited Mexico recently.
The affected student's doctor had contacted the state, who tested the child's flu-like symptoms.
"This is absolutely no time for panic," said Tennessee Health Department Commissioner Susan Cooper. "We fully expect to see other cases from across the state, just as we expect to see other cases ... across the nation."
State tests have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control, with results expected in 24 to 48 hours. State health officials said 95 percent of such cases turn out to be positive.
Harding Academy, located in the Belle Meade area of Nashville, will close classes and all school activities for seven days. This closure includes this weekend's Harding Art Show set for Thursday evening through Saturday.
The name, age and sex of the child were not announced. The affected child from Harding Academy was resting at home.
City Officials Take Precautions
Metro Nashville has activated its emergency operations center, and state health leaders said they expect this is only the beginning of more cases.
"We certainly expect to see a large number of cases. They may be clustered. There may be different cases in all 95 counties of the state," said Cooper.
Metro Health officials said they are investigating how the Harding Academy student got the H1N1 flu, and said they are also looking into other students at the school who have flu-like symptoms.
"In select instances where it looks like it could be a possible case we're recommending that the tests go ahead and be done. So there is some testing to help us understand how far this virus may have gone in this school," said Metro Health Director Bill Paul.
Paul said the H1N1 flu has been very mild in Tennessee, but Mayor Karl Dean said people still need to be vigilant.
The city of Nashville is making changes to contain the virus. The city's fire department said its biggest change of protocol will be how paramedics deal with patients who have flu-like symptoms.
"Anyone who has flu like symptoms will immediately get a mask, and then our personnel will also wear a mask and try and minimize the spread of the virus," said Dr. Corey Slovis, the medical director for the Nashville Fire Department.
School districts around the state also have plans in place should the H1N1 flu show up in their schools.
Metro schools director Jesse Register said Metro's plan hinges on the scope of the problem.
"If we have a case or two show up, then we will look at a school at a time. I think it has to elevate to a much higher level before we consider closing the district," said Register.
The Metro Health Department has set up a hotline for the public to call for questions specifically about H1N1 flu at (615) 340-7775.
The Adventure Science Center is hosting a free public panel discussion on Friday night where residents can ask questions. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. The center is located at 800 Fort Negley Boulevard in Nashville.
Possible H1N1 Case Near Memphis
Tennessee Department of Health spokeswoman Andrea Turner said on Thursday a possible case of the H1N1 virus has been detected in a student attending Incarnation Catholic School in Collierville, Tenn.
Principal Dr. Mary McDonald has dismissed classes for seven calendar days.
Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton said medical tests at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital indicated with 95 percent assurance that the youngster has swine flu.
Officials refused to said whether the 12-year-old student is a boy or a girl.
"We do expect there to be other cases," Wharton said at a news conference that was also attended by public health officials and medical personnel from St. Jude.
Wharton said he had no plans to urge area residents to limit their travel plans locally or their participation in public gatherings.
"We have absolutely nothing scientifically or medically to indicate that is needed or that it would be of any great benefit," he said.
Department of Health Commissioner Susan Cooper said children at schools that have been dismissed should not congregate.
"This will go on for months and not days," said state medical epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones. "Like other forms of influenza that get into the community, you see six to eight months of peaks and valleys."
The state lab will be equipped to confirm the swine flu cases by next week because it will receive special swine flu test kits, Jones said.
Bowling Green, KY., Woman Has H1N1 Flu
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said a woman hospitalized in Georgia with swine flu is from Bowling Green.
Beshear said Thursday that officials with the Barren River Health District are investigating whether anyone in Kentucky who had contact with the woman is ill.
The head of Georgia's Division of Public Health said Thursday the 30-year-old woman had traveled to LaGrange in west Georgia and had fallen ill. She had been in Cancun, Mexico earlier this month.
Beshear said Kentucky will also report a probable case of H1N1 flu involving an infant who had been in contact with someone recently in Mexico.
H1N1 flu has symptoms nearly identical to regular flu -- fever, cough and sore throat -- and spreads like regular flu, through tiny particles in the air, when people cough or sneeze.
Tenn. Continues To Test Samples
Tennessee health officials said on Wednesday that they were testing more specimens for the H1N1 flu but still had no lab-confirmed cases in the state.
Jones said the health department is testing 18 cultures to determine if the patients have influenza and what type it is.
Of the samples tested, 14 were completely negative for swine flu, while four others appeared to be connected to late season regular flu cases.
Jones wanted to remind people that only the state lab can define a case as positive, and even then the sample will be sent to the Centers For Disease Control for confirmation.
Since the U.S. is approaching graduation season, the state has received questions about whether those sorts of gatherings should be limited. At this point, the Tennessee Department of Health said they do not recommend limiting events where large crowds are expected.
Jones said that most persons who contract H1N1 flu will recover without anti-viral treatment, but he said that there is plenty of vaccine stockpiled at the state, federal and private sector to handle the need.
In response to questions, Jones said that we will almost certainly see swine flu cases in Tennessee, calling it "inevitable and likely already here."
Jones said that the CDC is not currently planning to do surveillance on the country's transportation system. He also said the death in the last 24 hours of a toddler in Texas should have been expected since any flu illness is more difficult on the extremely young and elderly.
Jones advised parents to use the same judgment they use during the normal flu season to determine whether to send their children to school and daycare.
Jones said there is no need for Tennesseans be "excessively worried" or wear surgical masks.
He urged people to remain "calm and alert."
He said the global outbreak is expected to last a long time, adding: "It's not going to end next week."
Jones said it's not a particularly severe virus, but nonetheless some 700 Tennesseans die annually from the flu strain that normally hits during the winter.
Doctors advise people to wash their hands, stay three feet away from anyone coughing and go to the doctor a little quicker than usual if they have flu systems.
Reporter Josh DeVine contributed to this story.
Tennessee Study Abroad Program To Mexico Postponed
The Tennessee Consortium for International Studies has postponed its study abroad program to Mexico because of the H1N1 flu outbreak.
Program director J. Milton Grimes said the trip may be rescheduled for late July if the outbreak is contained and the travel advisory is lifted.
He said the three-week language study program is intensive immersion during which 25 students and three faculty members from several Tennessee colleges and universities live with Mexican families.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people avoid nonessential travel to Mexico.
The Tennessee Consortium for International Studies is the Tennessee Board of Regents system's collaborative international studies program.
Trucker Med Clinics On Alert For H1N1 Flu
A Knoxville-based company that operates medical clinics in truck stops has cautioned its personnel to look for evidence of H1N1 flu.
Professional Drivers Medical Depot CEO Dr. John McElligot said truck drivers travel more than 600 miles per day and told The Knoxville News Sentinel "it's truckers that spread things."
The company has Texas clinics in El Paso and Laredo, which are close to the Mexican border.
Mexican Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said the suspected death toll in his country has climbed to 149, with 20 of those cases confirmed to be from swine flu.
The World Health Organization said there are now 40 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in the United States and that it is "very concerned" about the disease's spread.
My sister has a home day care in San Antonio. One of her day care kids (10 months old) is being tested for swine flu. The prelim test is positive so an additional test is sent to the CDC in DC for conformation. She says it takes 10 day to get the results.
Prelim test is 95% accurate. They say CDC is swamped and running behind on confirmation tests, but 10 days is really way behind!
So is DC where all testing is done? 10 days is a very long time to get results and the sheer volume has got to be overwhelming.
More swine flu cases ping.
All the kids are under five (not kindergarten). It will be interesting for her and the parents of the kids.
How long does the flu last. Seems that after 10 days everybody that is going to get it will have already gotten it. So who will they be quarantining?
Ah, military... that may well be why the testing is done in DC... makes sense.
Most schools are shutting down based on the preliminary test that can be done immediately and is 95% accurate. Waiting 10 days for the CDC to confirm before shutting down doesn’t make sense. The virus seems to have an incubation period of 1 - 3 days and last 7 - 10 days.
SWINE FLU, SWINE FLU....THERE IS SOMETHING TO CHANGING THE NAME....WHY? DONT THINK ITS THAT SIMPLE....THERE IS AN AGENDA TO ALL OBAMA ADMINISTRATION MADNESS!!
Maybe hog producers have very good lobbys?
yep...they pulled Harding and MBA from athletic events my kids attend at PP
WNSL baseball for one..
On Drudge they were saying that the CDC was so backed up that they weren’t even testing all of the samples sent in! Just ones from new regions so they could characterize the spread of the flu.
I imagine this will have Obama calling for nationalization of the testing laboratories to make things better, faster, and so the EVERYONE can know what they have - because the CDC sure isn’t.......oh,....wait....
If it wasn’t so late,I’d call my sister in Decatur Alabama. I need to call her anyway (away from Mom’s prying ears) and explain my concerns about Mom.
My sis is a pre school teacher in a community with a LARGE illegal population. I am concerned for her also.
Mexican swine flu bump