Schools take action on swine flu

Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SELMA — The city school system here likely will require students to take a vaccine for the swine flu while the Dallas County School System will encourage the vaccination, but not require it.

Dr. Austin Obasohan said the Selma City School System is examining the possibility of requiring the shots to prevent the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu.

“I do not have details,” he said. “I will have to talk with the health services coordinator and present it to the school board.”

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Obasohan said the school system will keep parents informed.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Alabama has 1,298 confirmed cases of swine flu, bringing the total number of probable and confirmed cases in the state to 1,314, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

None of those cases have come out of Dallas County, state Health Department figures show.

The age range of confirmed swine flu cases is four weeks to 86 years, with a median age of 12 years.

A listing of the confirmed cases by county shows Montgomery with 190, the highest in the state, followed by Houston with 153, Jefferson with 152 and Madison with 115. Autauga County has 58 confirmed cases of swine flu, followed by Pike County with 41, Marshall with 39, Baldwin with 34 and Butler with 30.

David Hagood, a spokesman for the Dallas County Schools, said the system is not requiring students to get the vaccination but school officials are urging students to receive vaccinations.

“The teachers have also been reminded to take the necessary steps to ensure that the students’ learning environment is clean and we have again provided all teachers and bus drivers with ‘PDI Sani-Cloth,’ a germicide disposable cloth to wipe down common areas,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control, based in Atlanta, recommends taking everyday actions to stay healthy. For instance, covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throwing the tissue in the trash afterwards.

Washing hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing is another way of keeping disease at bay. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.