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Delaware Health Alert Network #184

May 21, 2009 2:09 pm

Health Advisory

The Division of Public Health (DPH) is reminding the health and school (K-12) communities of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding preventing the spread of novel influenza H1N1 ("swine flu") in schools and child care programs.

As of May 20, 2009 the DPH Laboratory has confirmed 91 cases of novel influenza H1N1. As indicated in Table 1, a significant number of cases are of an age expected to attend school or child care programs.

Table 1.  Distribution of Confirmed Novel Influenza H1N1 by Age, Delaware, May 20, 2009.

Age (Years) Number Percentage
1-5 13 14.3
6-10 19 20.9
11-15 27 29.7
16-20 19 20.9
> 20 14 15.4
Total 91 100.0

While this age distribution is probably determined in part by testing practices within the health care community, it does indicate that many young people are infected.

Because most people in the community who are infected with novel influenza H1N1 are not tested, the following guidelines apply to all children, faculty or staff with influenza-like illness.

The successful implementation of these recommendations can only be accomplished if they are consistently applied by both the health care and school communities.

Guidance for School and Child Care Facilities

  • Students, faculty or staff with influenza-like illness (fever with a cough or sore throat) should stay home and not attend school or child care programs, or go into the community except to seek medical care for at least 7 days even if symptoms resolve sooner.
  • Students, faculty and staff who are still sick 7 days after they become ill should continue to stay home from school and child care programs until at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved.
  • Students, faculty and staff should stringently follow sanitary measures to reduce the spread of influenza, including covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or coughing or sneezing into their sleeve if a tissue isn’t available), frequently washing hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer if hand washing with soap and water is not possible.

The full guidance from CDC can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/K12_dismissal.htm

Guidance regarding who should be tested

DPH also reminds both the school and health care communities that most children with suspected novel influenza H1N1 symptoms do not need to be tested. Recommendations for who should and should not be tested can be found here: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/php/alerts/dhan183.html

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Categories of Health Alert messages:

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