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H1N1 virus touches St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School

H1N1 virus touches St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School

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Parents and teachers at the Roman Catholic Primary School have been expressing fears for the safety of their children since the disclosure this week that a seven-year-old student tested positive for the H1N1 virus.{{more}}

The Grade 2 student, who returned to the island from Toronto on August 29, began to display symptoms of the illness on September 5.

The symptoms persisted through September 7 when she reentered school and was taken to a doctor.

Test samples taken and submitted to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) in Trinidad confirmed the diagnoses.

In a televised statement earlier this week, Minister of Health and the Environment, Dr. Douglas Slater, said that 10 other Grades 1 and 2 students also showed some flu-like symptoms. Not all of the children were tested, however, the Minister explained, since most of the symptoms had already subsided.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the seven-year-old, the third confirmed H1N1 case, was never hospitalised and is said to be recovering well at home.

On Tuesday, when Searchlight visited the school, the affected sections, which normally house more than 130 students, were virtually abandoned. This followed an order from the Ministry for the students to remain home from September 15 to 21 as a precaution.

Slater added that a team of public health officials had been deployed by the Ministry to manage the situation.

“We will be monitoring the situation very closely and will be dispatching a public health nurse to be resident at the school’s compound to ensure that they have the situation under control,” he added.

The Minister urged parents and teachers to give the Ministry their full cooperation and contact health officials if they notice any symptoms with their children.

Headteacher Sister Ivy Pacheco noted that the Ministry of Health was handling the matter but some the parents opted to keep their children at home until the situation had been clarified. She added that the school had already been disinfected.

Epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health and the Environment, Jennifer George, made it clear that the initial closure of the grades one and two classes was because of the reported flu case. However, she noted that further closure of the school was due to disruption of classes and parents deciding to keep their children at home.

George reminded Vincentians to employ good personal hygiene habits.

The first case of the H1N1 virus recorded here was a Vincentian national who had come home from Canada just before the start of Vincy Mas 2009. A Guadeloupe national was the second reported case.

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