News

Swine flu likely in King County

Ten probable cases of swine flu have been identified in King County, seven in children, shutting down three Seattle schools. Sixteen possible cases have been identified in all of Washington state, public-health officials announced Thursday.

Six schools around Puget Sound have closed.

Seattle School District officials closed the Madrona K-8 school until next Wednesday after it learned that an 11-year-old boy at the school probably has swine flu – or influenza A(H1N1), the name of the flu virus. A middle school and elementary school have also been closed.

Health officials expect to confirm test results within a few days.

The Seattle Times reported that health and school officials in Seattle say the infected student may have been ill while in school Friday, April 24.

No cases have been reported in Snoqualmie Valley, but the school district is monitoring developments with the state Department of Health and local officials, according to the district's Web site.

If a possible case is detected, the district will follow the Health Department's advice, said Carolyn Malcolm, the district spokeswoman.

The district advises people to follow regular methods to curb the spread of flu, such as coughing into your arm and wiping your hands regularly. It also asks that anyone with flu-like symptoms stay home from school.

Symptoms include fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that medical attention should be sought for children with the following signs: fast or troubled breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting, being so irritable that the child doesn't want to be held, flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough, or a fever with a rash.

So far, swine flu has spread more easily than avian flu, but has been much less deadly. Swine flu spreads among humans similar to seasonal flu – primarily through respiratory droplets from sneezes and coughs, and to a lesser degree from infected surfaces.

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On the Web:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

King County Public Health

Snoqualmie Valley School District

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