Local Schools, Brazos County Prepare in Light of Flu Outbreak

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

It's claimed the lives of nearly 150 people in Mexico. Now the Swine Flu makes its way to the states.

More than 40 cases of the virus have been confirmed across the country. Three of those from right here in Texas.

Schools in parts of San Antonio have shut down, and some patients are in isolation.

But what about here at home?

"Hope to God he doesn't get it, he doesn't come and give it to all of us, and then we'll spread it around to everyone else," Parent Erica Harole said.

It's a new strain of the flu that's keeping parents on high alert.

"Most definitely keep them extra clean right now," Harole said.

For mom's Erica Harole and Tiffany Breen that's no easy task, with young kids looking for fun, that want to touch and explore everything.

"Be sure to bring sanitizer with them of course," Harole said.

It's a concept health officials are taking seriously.

"What's being labeled swine flu is a really novel influenza situation which we don't have a vaccination for," Julie Anderson with the Brazos County Health Department said.

Anderson says they've been fielding calls left and right from concerned parents and residents.

"The good thing about this new novel strain of flu is it's susceptible from Tamiflu whereas some of the more common strains of the flu are becoming more resistant," Anderson said.

The new virus is something local health officials, and school districts are keeping a close eye on.

"We've asked our schools to give us their lists of absentees, let us look at how many you're having, and if they have any idea they're having something like that in their classes they'll report it to us," Ann Ganter with College Station ISD said.

At College Station ISD letters are also going home with students, telling parents to keep kids home at the first sign of sickness.

"We're TAKS testing this week, which is important but not as important as making sure your children stay home if they're experiencing flu-like symptoms," Ganter said.

Although their kids have been sparred from the flu in the past.

"They don't ever get really sick," Harole said.

Erica Harole and Tiffany Breen say they hope they're doing enough to keep the Swine flu out of their house.

"It's still kind of scary," Harole said.

Health officials tell me that this strain of the flu, is no deadlier, than the more common seasonal flu. They also say this strain is just as contagious.

But they are advising people to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze or use tissues. Use anti-bacterial hand sanitizer to kill germs, and although this last one may sound a little silly they're asking people who have to go to a place like a doctor's office where there's the potential for a lot of people, in a small area, to wear surgical masks in the waiting areas.

So far, there are no confirmed cases of the Swine Influenza in Brazos County.

For more information about the Swine Flu click on the links below:

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