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‘Swine flu’ reported at middle school

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By John Whitlock

The Owen County School District issued a letter indicating a student at Maurice Bowling Middle School may have contracted H1N1, commonly known as swine flu.

Owen County School Superintendent Mark Cleveland said the middle-school student has the symptoms of the virus, but no formal test results have been received.

Cleveland said the Center for Disease Control is backed up with many other possible swine flu tests, and he has been advised to treat the illness as an incident of swine flu.

“Basically their attitude is if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland had been preparing a memo to parents indicating there had been no cases of swine flu in the district.

Last week, Cleveland’s plans changed.

The memo that was sent home Sept. 8 with students outlines some of the precautions students and parents should take.

The sick student has not been in school since Sept. 4.

Cleveland has not reported any further cases.

“Attendance seems pretty steady,” Cleveland said Tuesday. “It doesn’t seem like there is much of an impact right now.”

Cleveland said he heard that the virus that causes the flu can remain active in the human body for up to a week after most of the major symptoms have subsided.

“That’s why it would be hard to just close the schools,” Cleveland said. “It’s really hard to determine when the virus is gone.”

Last week’s memo sent to Owen County parents outlined some of the district’s actions to combat the spread of the virus and some tactics parents can use at home try and prevent the illness from spreading to others.

“We are still washing everything down,” Cleveland said.