Possible Swine Flu case in Collierville - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee


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Possible Swine Flu case in Collierville

COLLIERVILLE, TN (WMC-TV) - A possible case of the H1N1 virus, also known as Swine Flu, has been detected in a student attending a private school in Collierville.

The unidentified student, 12, attends Incarnation Catholic School.  Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton said the child was responding well to treatment.

"We do have one case at this time that has gone through testing at St. Jude.  Those results have been accepted by the state of Tennessee and the final testing is underway at this time in Atlanta," Wharton said a press conference.

Wharton said parents were picking up students from the school in an orderly fashion.

"The school has been dismissed and we expect that school will not be in session for the next seven days," Wharton said.

Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Helen Morrow said the school would be cleaned using standards established by the Centers for Disease Control.

Morrow repeated a message sent by many health officials in recent days, asking anyone feeling sick to stay home. 

Wharton said there were no confirmed or suspected cases of Swine Flu at any other schools in the area. 

Wharton said he was not recommending any limits on travel or gatherings in Shelby County at this time, adding he saw nothing to indicate such measures were necessary.

Meanwhile, the Memphis-Shelby County Health Department has launched an investigation, trying to figure out who else - if anyone is at risk.

"We're sitting down and talking with the family of this particular child, determining with whom this child has been in contact, what his recent history, or her recent history has been," Yvonne Matlock said.

Wharton declined to offer specific details, but said the child may have recently traveled, though they're not yet able to confirm the connection.

The child's parents asked for him or her to be tested after noticing flu-like symptoms. They took their child to the doctor, and a sample was sent to St. Jude for testing.

The other child believed to have swine flu in Tennessee is a student at Harding Academy in Davidson County. That school has also closed for at least seven days.

Department of Health Commissioner Susan Cooper said children at schools that have been dismissed should not congregate.

"This will go on for months and not days," said state medical epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones. "Like other forms of influenza that get into the community, you see six to eight months of peaks and valleys."

The state lab will be equipped to confirm the swine flu cases by next week because it will receive special swine flu test kits, Jones said.

Below is a message Principal Dr. Mary McDonald sent to parents.

Message from Dr. Mary McDonald

Parents: This is Dr. Mary McDonald, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Memphis. I am calling to inform you that a student at Incarnation Catholic School has been identified by the health authorities as a potential case of H1N1 Swine flu. The school, at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and state and local health authorities, is dismissing students for a period of seven calendar days, or until further notice. We are asking for your cooperation in picking your child up from school at this time.

We have not been given any specific information from the health authorities regarding the identity of the child, but have been assured that at this time there has not been any confirmation of the diagnosis and that the child is at home. They have asked us to take this precautionary measure as standard protocol in such a case.

As always, our primary concern is the health and safety of our students, your children, and our employees. When we receive further guidance from the health officials we will post it on the school’s web site at www.goics.org. We appreciate your understanding of this precautionary response.

Stay with Action News 5 and WMCTV.com for updates on this story.

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