Community taking precautionary measures against swine flu

A private school in Mira Mesa remained closed Tuesday because some of its teachers may have had contracted swine flu.

Christ the Cornerstone Academy was closed Monday as a precautionary measure while tests are conducted to see if the six teachers suspected of having swine flu actually contracted the disease, said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer.

The teachers may have been exposed to the virus by a student at the school who tested positive for it, according to Wooten.

A new case of swine flu in San Diego County was confirmed Monday, bringing the total to five, and state health officials said two more people in the county are likely infected with the virus as well.

The latest confirmed case of swine flu in the county involved a 20-year- old man, Wooten said, adding that all of those who were infected have recovered and did not require hospitalization.

The two unconfirmed cases reported on Monday involve relatives of a 7-year-old with a confirmed case of swine flu, Wooten said, adding that confirmation is pending from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Wooten, new guidelines from the CDC mandate that schools close for a period of seven days after only a single case of swine flu has been confirmed.

Wooten said if residents are sick, they should stay home from work or school.

Enough doses of anti-viral medications for 50,000 people have been ordered for the San Diego region from a strategic national stockpile, she said. “We know that the virus is spreading from person to person,’' she said. “What we are now in is what’s called a mitigation phase. We are trying to slow, decrease the spread of the disease.

“We know that this swine flu virus is throughout our community,’' Wooten added. It’s in various states throughout the U.S. It’s in various countries throughout the world.’'

Swine flu is usually spread from pigs to humans but health officials worldwide are concerned about the prospect of a pandemic because the current strain of the disease is being spread from humans to humans.

The disease is most prevalent in Mexico, where about 2,000 people have developed influenza and about 150 have died, 26 of them confirmed as of this morning to have been swine flu sufferers.

As of Tuesday, there are 50 confirmed U.S. cases in California, New York, Texas, Ohio and Kansas. Most of the cases were mild but one person was hospitalized with complications, according to published reports. No U.S. fatalities have been reported as of Tuesday morning.

Elsewhere, cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Canada, Scotland and Spain. Unconfirmed cases have also been reported in New Zealand, France and Israel.

Because the outbreak appears to be linked to Mexico, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in San Diego said Monday that people who appeared sick at local border crossings were being taken to a secondary inspection area for further evaluation.