Health dept ready to advise schools on swine flu

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pretoria - As schools across the country opened for the third term this morning, the Department of Health said it was on standby to help them deal with any cases of the H1N1 influenza virus, or swine flu.

Should any cases be reported at a school, the department will send a team to advise on what to do next, to limit a possible spread of the virus.

"In the event that there is an outbreak, National and Provincial Outbreak Response Teams will be dispatched to the particular school in question where they will advise the school on what to do," department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe told BuaNews.

"We do not want to create panic for parents and students. The teams will provide advice to the schools where there is a cluster outbreak," he said.

Mr Hadebe also pointed out that should there be an outbreak of swine flu; schools would not be forced to close their doors. "The department will not force schools to close," he said.

However, he urged students who appeared to have the symptoms of flu to rather stay at home for a couple of days in order to recover.

He said the department was also on alert for possible cases at tertiary institutions. "We will provide support should the need arise," he said.

Last month, 11 university students tested positive for swine flu after attending a sporting event in Gauteng. All of them have since recovered.