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Flu warning after school break

10th September 2009

Schools have been issued with advice to help curb the spread of swine flu with an expected surge in cases in the months ahead.

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Measures include adopting basic hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing, with children regarded as more likely to pass the virus on.

With ministers making it clear that schools would not be closed, several schools have already put measures in place with anti-bacterial gels on their premises and posters advising about the best way to wash hands.

Since schools closed in July for the summer break, swine flu cases have fallen from 100,000 new cases being reported a week to the latest figures which indicate there were just 4,500 new infections.

England's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said simple hygiene measures in schools could go a long way to combating the next wave of infections.

He said: “We saw with the first peak that we had during June and July very high rates among children, particularly young children.

“All the research evidence shows that if children are educated to cover their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze and then wash their hands, it helps a great deal to slow the spread of infection.

"We have had a sizeable first peak, but we are expecting a bigger second peak during the normal flu season which is just about to start."

Schools secretary Ed Balls agreed said schools would remain open but parents should keep children at home and ring their GP or special helpline if they suspected swine flu.

 

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