5 More Queens Schools Close Due to Swine Flu

Principal of swine flu school shows up in ER

Five more schools -- four public schools and one Catholic school -- in Queens will close Monday after at least 100 students came down with flu-like symptoms, Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said Sunday. The latest announcement brings the total number of school shut-downs in the borough to 11 for this week.

The City Health Department recommended the closures for up to five school days after documenting unusually high and increasing levels of flu-like illnesses.

“We are now seeing a rising tide of flu in many parts of New York City,” Frieden said.  “With the virus spreading widely, closing these and other individual schools will make little difference in transmission throughout New York City, but we hope will help slow transmission within the individual school communities. Given the large number of cases, it is entirely possible that in the coming days there will be people with severe illness from flu, particularly among people who have underlying health problems.”  

Last week, the city announced six schools would be closed because of swine flu. The principal of one of the six schools closed because of swine flu showed up in the emergency room of the same hospital where his assistant principal just lost his life, becoming the fifth victim to die of swine flu in the United States.

A woman in Arizona became the fourth victim to die from swine flu Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to add her to the official national tally on Friday, a health official said. The case would bring the worldwide death toll to 70.

The other deaths in America were in Texas -- a Mexican toddler and a pregnant woman -- and a man in his 30s in Washington state. Each suffered from other illnesses when they were infected with the virus.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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