MEMPHIS – A second possible case of swine flu in Tennessee was reported Thursday, and a second school in the state was closed as a precaution.
Both cases must be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be officially listed as swine flu.
The first Tennessee case was reported Wednesday in Williamson County and the second was reported Thursday in Shelby County. Both cases involve schoolchildren, neither of whom was reported to be seriously ill.
The Shelby County youngster is a student at Incarnation Catholic School in Collierville, a Memphis suburb. The school was closed for at least seven days, based on CDC guidelines.
Officials refused to say whether the 12-year-old student is a boy or a girl.
Health department spokeswoman Shelley Walker said the department does not yet know how the children may have caught the swine flu.
Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton said medical tests at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital indicated with 95 percent assurance that the youngster has swine flu.
“We do expect there to be other cases,” Wharton said at a news conference that was also attended by public health officials and medical personnel from St. Jude.
Wharton said he had no plans to urge area residents to limit their travel plans locally or their participation in public gatherings.
“We have absolutely nothing scientifically or medically to indicate that is needed or that it would be of any great benefit,” he said.
The other child believed to have swine flu was a student at Harding Academy in Davidson County. That school has also closed for at least seven days.
Department of Health Commissioner Susan Cooper said children at schools that have been dismissed should not congregate.
“This will go on for months and not days,” said state medical epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones. “Like other forms of influenza that get into the community, you see six to eight months of peaks and valleys.”
The state lab will be equipped to confirm the swine flu cases by next week because it will receive special swine flu test kits, Jones said.
The Associated Press