Suffolk prepares for more swine flu

SUFFOLK is today preparing for a growing number of swine flu cases, after the pandemic caused the closure of one of the county's largest high school.

SUFFOLK is today preparing for a growing number of swine flu cases, after the pandemic caused the closure of one of the county's largest high school.

Last week a teacher from St Albans Roman Catholic High School in Digby Road, Ipswich, was confirmed to have the virus and now pupils have been told not to return to lessons until next Tuesday. Several more cases involving both staff and pupils at the school are suspected, while the teacher, believed to be from the Trimley area, is thought to be recovering.

The school took the decision to close its doors following the end of school yesterday, despite previous advice from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) that it was safe to remain open.

Dennis McGarry, headteacher, said: “We have taken the decision to close the school to help allay concerns from parents and members of staff.

“We hope to reduce the anxiety of everyone concerned with the school.”

The pupils and staff who displayed possible symptoms are now being tested for the pandemic and are being treated by medics. All have either been sent home or stayed away as a precaution.

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The news of the school closure came as it emerged that there were 17 confirmed cases of swine flu in the NHS Suffolk area, which excludes Waveney.

The primary care trust confirmed the figures yesterday, a rise from the 11 cases it had recorded at the end of last week.

Suffolk young people's spokesman Graham Newman said the county was preparing for the possibility of swine flu becoming more widespread, as experts have predicted.

He added: “With one confirmed case and two other suspected cases among staff and three suspected cases among pupils this was a decision for the head - but it is certainly reasonable so far as the authority is concerned.

“At the moment it is early days in dealing with swine flu and we are working closely with the HPA in dealing with it.

“We are feeling our way in dealing with the outbreak at the moment. No doubt our response will evolve, especially if swine flu becomes more widespread later in the year as many experts expect.”

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