Lee County Schools see first swine flu cases

TUPELO – A week into the new school year, Lee County Schools has cases of swine flu at two schools.
School Superintendent Mike Scott said Wednesday that a minimal number of flu cases had been confirmed at Guntown Middle School and Verona Elementary.
“We’re taking all precautions,” said Scott, who did not specify the number of cases.
But he asked parents to help limit the spread of the new flu virus. “If a child gets sick,” he said, “don’t send them back to school until 24 hours after the fever has subsided.”
The appearance of the novel H1N1 flu isn’t unexpected. At least 369 confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in the state. The new Lee County cases are not reflected in that total. Over the summer, health officials saw outbreaks at summer camps, where children were in close contact.
North Mississippi Medical Clinics, which have about 40 locations throughout Northeast Mississippi, is seeing pockets of swine flu activity.
“We’ve had some clinics see significant amounts of flu; others haven’t seen one case,” said David Barber, president of the clinics, which are affiliated with the North Mississippi Medical Center system. “August is usually very busy, but it’s definitely a change in the amount of flu in August.”
Tupelo Public School District, which goes back into session Friday, will be working with staff and students to encourage good cough etiquette, hand washing and other preventive strategies, said Tupelo School Nurse Leslie Backstrom.
Like Lee County, the district is following CDC guidelines.
“We’re going to try to stay as much ahead of it as we can,” Backstrom said.

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal