Schools Closed Because of Outbreak of H1N1 Flu

A student form Sandwich Community High School died Monday after catching the H1N1 virus, the school district reported.

The student, whose name was not released, attended the school 50 miles west of Chicago last year but was not in attendance this year, the district said. The DeKalb County Health Department confirmed the death to be related to the H1N1 virus.

The health department is investigating whether the student had any prior health conditions that might have worsened his illness.

Meanwhile, a west suburban high school will be closed for the rest of the week after hundreds of students stayed home sick Tuesday with flu-like symptoms, Chicago Sun-Times reports.

It was also reported, district officials said they had no confirmed cases of swine flu, but many students had been displaying flulike symptoms. They decided to close the school, at 1020 Dunham Road in St. Charles, mostly from an operational point of view. They also had consulted with the Kane County Health Department.

Other schools in the district remained open. The highest absentee rate at any of the other schools was about 12 percent, officials said. That is more in line with the absentee rate this time of year.

Special events such as Friday's football game between rivals St. Charles East and St. Charles North and the school's Kick-A-Thon also will be postponed.

"(The health department's) suggestion was if it is H1N1 -- and that's a question -- (it) normally runs its course in about five days," Schlomann said. "So it made a lot of sense to close for the remainder of the week," Chicago Tribune reports.

Meanwhile, Dr Sarah Hayes, senior medical officer at the Welsh Assembly Government said the vaccination programme was going to take several weeks to roll out.

"This is not one big vaccination programme. It may take right up until December to complete.

"The health services have been gearing up for this for several months.

"For most people it will stop you from getting flu, not everybody, but it does reduce the number of people who need hospital admissions and deaths."

Dr Haynes also highlighted that pregnant women were at greater risk from swine flu.

"There is a lot of information coming through that the vaccination is safe in pregnancy," she said. BBC News reports .

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