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Swine flu suspected
Ill child attends private school
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Forsyth County News
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Recent reports that a Forsyth County private school student had come down with the flu show just how seriously officials are taking the H1N1 virus.

Angela Martin, owner of Cornerstone Schools on Browns Bridge Road, confirmed Friday that a seventh-grader there was ill.

She said doctors suspect it may be the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, though that diagnosis has not been confirmed.

“We just told our parents to be watching out for symptoms,” Martin said. “The doctor said, ‘Anybody that gets the flu, we just tell them its swine flu.’”

She said the doctor recommended that the child stay out of school for seven days.

As of July 15, there had been six confirmed cases and no deaths from swine flu in Forsyth County, said Dave Palmer, spokesman for the Georgia Division of Public Health District 2.

Palmer said the state has since stopped breaking down the numbers by county, instead recording only the cases that have resulted in hospital stays or deaths. Statewide there have been 101 hospitalizations and four deaths resulting from swine flu.

Palmer said those who are hospitalized for more common flu types are tested for the H1N1 virus.

“When people go in and they have the symptoms of flu, the physician will treat them for influenza and they may do the rapid test to determine if it’s [Type A or Type B],” Palmer said, adding that H1N1 is a Type A flu.

“We’re not doing that further testing on mild and moderate cases, only the ones severe enough to be hospitalized.”

Citing figures from the Center for Disease Control, Palmer said 90 percent of Type A flu tests come back positive for the H1N1 virus.

“So they think that a high portion of folks with influenza have the H1N1 virus,” he said.

The virus is being treated like all communicable diseases, including chicken pox or the traditional Type A flu.

In confirmed cases, parents are asked to keep their child home for 24 hours after a fever breaks. Letters are sent to parents of classmates to inform them of the illness.

Forsyth County school system officials met earlier this month with state Sen. Jack Murphy to discuss the district’s preparations for the virus.

As chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee, Murphy has been briefed by the state Emergency Management Agency on H1N1 virus preparedness.

The Cumming Republican said he was pleased at how well prepared the school district was to handle an emergency.