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Swine Flu Appears Mild And Schools Should Stay Open, U.S. Officials Say
Date:5/5/2009

Life in the crisis' epicenter, Mexico, may also be getting back to normal as flu fear ebb

TUESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials on Tuesday said that the current outbreak of swine flu appears similar to the seasonal flu in its severity, meaning that schools across the nation should remain open, and any schools that did close should re-open.

This announcement marks a change from the previous guidance, which recommended affected schools close for at least two weeks. The U.S. Education Department has said that more than 430 schools have been closed nationwide due to flu fears, affecting about 245,000 children.

Students who are sick with flu-like symptoms should stay home for at least a week, officials cautioned.

"The good news is that while that guidance recognizes the fast transmission, the end result has been a more mild version of the disease than was originally feared and the lethality seem at a much less significant level," HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a press conference Tuesday. "So, there is new guidance being put out that will recommend that schools cease closing with affected cases," she said.

The change in guidance does not mean that scientists know much more now than they did before about what the virus will do, Sebelius stressed. "We don't know what will happen over the course of the summer and we certainly don't know what will happen when we get back into the [fall] flu season," she said.

"We are learning more about the H1N1 virus every day," Sebelius said. "We know there will be more cases and unfortunately, there are likely to be more hospitalizations and more deaths," she said. "We are working as fast as we can to stay ahead of this disease."

Although the flu is milder than thought, the flu continues to spread throughout the country and many more cases are expected.

As of Tuesday there are 1,105 probable and confirmed cases acros
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