Swine flu at Cavan school

AN outbreak of swine flu at a national school in Cavan is being managed by the Health Service Executive.

Around 20 pupils at Laragh National School in Cavan are believed to be infected with the H1N1 virus and a number of cases have been confirmed in laboratory tests.

The school that has more than 100 pupils remains open and parents are being advised that children who are sick should be kept home for seven days from the onset of symptoms. The HSE is working with the school to minimise the spread of the virus and parents have been told that any pupil displaying symptoms of the virus will be sent home.

HSE public health medicine specialist Dr Peter Finnegan said the virus was concentrated in two classes and in a particular area of the parish.

“It is concentrated in children who pal around with each other and I suppose it is not surprising – it is an infectious illness so it is going to spread person to person,” he told RTÉ news yesterday. He said there was no reason for the school to close at this stage. “Most of the children have a very mild illness lasting only a day or two and only one or two families needed to contact their GP,” he said.

Meanwhile, new research published today backs up previous findings that swine flu can infect cells deeper in the lung than seasonal flu.

Researchers at Imperial College London, said their study that used artificial systems to examine the viruses, may explain why some people have had more severe lung infections. They have urged scientists to monitor the H1N1 virus for changes in the way it infects cells. A study published in July also found that the virus had the ability to infect cells deep in the lungs where it can cause pneumonia.

US-based virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka led an international team of researchers, who conducted experiments in mice, ferrets and monkeys.

Professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin Kingston Mills said there was no reason for people to become over-concerned about swine flu.

“Most people get fairly mild symptoms. It is only in some people that it is quite severe, and that has not been really explained in the latest study.”


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