A series of school closures coming because of "swine flu"
March 3, 2010
TEGUCIGALPA .- Health authorities warned yesterday of a coming series of activity suspensions in various centers of the capital after the closure of the Dowal School because of influenza A(H1N1) infections.
They admitted that the virus is circulating freely and that crowded places are favorable for transmission of the disease.
Authorities closed the bilingual school because the disease had caused 39 percent absenteeism of students, who were treated at private medical centers because they carry the virus.
Tito Alvarado, the infectious diseases expert of the Hospital School, stated that other schools and colleges will probably have to close soon unless preventive measures are taken, because the virus is indigenous.
He also reported that, in previous days, a bilingual school in the same area had been temporarily closed but that, since the virus incubation period has passed, the school, in Lomas del Guijarro, has been reopened.
"No doubt we will soon have small clusters of infections mainly at educational centers with children, who are highly susceptible to the virus, which may lead to a series of closures of educational centers and places where people congregate," he predicted.
One of the warnings concerns the Dowal School which, after six months of registering no infections, now presents an alarming situation that should make everyone attentive to taking preventive measures.
Alvarado indicated that, up to now, it may be that the country hasn't seen much of the contagion, but people who travel to other countries bring the virus back and transmit it to their families, and then the children go to school, and it multiplies.
"This situation could also occur on military bases and in prisons, sweatshops, boarding schools and casinos, but we believe that if the public observes the protective measures that they already know, closures can be avoided."
The latest report indicates that 13 cases of the dreaded disease are already registered in 2010, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 638, with 16 deaths, since the pandemic emerged in May of 2009. One death remains to be confirmed.
"The A(H1N1) virus will become one of the seasonal influenzas and in this form it will be striking, which makes the vaccine against it extremely important. All the countries of Central America and Mexico have already immunized their populations."
As reported, health authorities will launch a massive vaccination campaign against the disease on March 15, in which they will be immunizing the most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and health care personnel. This should significantly reduce the levels of infection.