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Swine Flu Closes 3 Schools in NYC
Date:5/15/2009

Meanwhile, world health officials discuss strategy for a vaccine

FRIDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- In a troubling sign that the swine flu outbreak has yet to run its current course in the United States, three New York City public schools were closed Thursday after dozens of flu-like infections surfaced and an assistant principal was in critical condition on a ventilator, according to published reports.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said four students and the assistant principal at a Queens middle school had documented cases of swine flu. More than 50 students have gone home sick with flulike symptoms. At another middle school in Queens, more than 200 students were absent Thursday, and dozens more were sick at an elementary school, The New York Times and the Associated Press reported.

The assistant principal reportedly had underlying health problems before he fell ill. The students who have taken sick in this latest round of infections seem to be experiencing mild symptoms, similar to routine flu, as has been the case for most people in the United States touched by the swine flu.

When the outbreak began more than three weeks ago, hundreds of students and staffers at St. Francis Preparatory School, also in Queens, were sickened. Reports at the time said several St. Francis students had spent spring vacation in Cancun, Mexico. Mexico is believed to be the source of the global outbreak that has now infected more than 7,000 people worldwide.

Meanwhile, vaccine manufacturers and other health experts met Thursday at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to plot potential strategies to combat the swine flu virus.

The AP reported that drug companies were ready to start producing a swine flu vaccine, but many questions remain. They include how many doses to produce, particularly in relation to needed doses of seasonal flu vaccine.

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