Sunday, May 10, 2009
Kaufman ISD reopens schools
Less than 1,000 U.S. H1N1 cases
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Following the recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the H1N1 flu is considered to be a mild outbreak that shouldn’t call for school closures, Kaufman ISD will reopen classes Monday, May 11.
Everything will run back on the regular schedule, including bus routes.
Previously, the district had announced school closures until Monday, May 18.
The recent announcement altered the district’s plans, which were taken as a matter of safety for staff and students, district superintendent Todd Williams said.
An Associated Press writer reports only about 10 percent of infected Americans got it as a result of travel to Mexico, or through association with someone recently come from there.
Most got the bug at home, a U.S. health official is quoted as saying.
Over the weekend, the CDC said about a third of the U.S. cases at that point were people who had been to Mexico, where the outbreak began.
CDC acting chief Dr. Richard Besser said Thursday there are now nearly 900 confirmed cases.
He says the ongoing spread within the U.S. borders explains why a shrinking proportion of cases are people who traveled to Mexico.
The ages of those who got swine flu now range from 1 month to 87.
However, there are two reasons the 2009 H1N1 outbreak will probably wind down soon.
First, cases of influenza tend to dwindle when the weather gets warmer. And second, the 2009 H1N1 virus outbreak in Mexico has reached its peak, and numbers there are going down.
It is expected that same pattern could happen in the United States.
Since the 2009 H1N1 virus is new, no one has immunity to it, Besser said.
He points out that the three outbreaks in the last century that were caused by new viruses – in 1918, 1957 and 1968 – started with a mild wave followed by more severe waves months later.
Public health officials expect the 2009 H1N1 virus to linger a while, and they expect to see more cases.
“H1N1 flu could die down soon and return later again this fall, when the flu season enters back in full swing,” says Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “We’ll be working very closely with the international community to understand what happens to this virus over the next few months as flu season begins in the Southern Hemisphere,” she says.
“That will tell us a lot about whether the virus is changing, whether it’s becoming more severe and what measures we might want to take in the fall.”
Peter Palese, chairman of the department of microbiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York thinks this virus “doesn’t have what it takes to become a major problem” – similar to the outbreaks of new viruses in 1957 and 1968, which were far more mild.
Scientists are already working on a vaccine for 2009 H1N1.
According to the World Health Organization, making a new vaccine takes five to six months, and longer to build up a supply.
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