Europe Braces for Swine Flu’s Potential

September 1, 2009 by mimmson  
Filed under Flu Pandemic - Top News Stories

As children across Europe go back to class and staff return from vacation, governments are keeping a watchful eye on the H1N1 virus and are preparing for possible vaccinations, home schooling and the prospect of widespread absenteeism.

For now, governments have resisted closing schools preemptively, judging that the virus has not yet reached the scale where such a move would be beneficial. But they have been circulating contingency plans for schools and companies — an approach broadly supported by health experts.

Simon Cauchemez, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, said that evidence from the spread of the virus in past months in the southern hemisphere, where it has been winter and where he said the disease had been mild in most cases, showed that there was no reason to shut schools ahead of time.

“I think the view is that we don’t want this kind of intervention unless your health system really cannot cope,” he said, referring to school closures.

Localities should wait and see whether health care systems in specific areas were able to handle the volume of swine flu cases, he said. If the volume of cases began rising to unmanageable levels, only then might it be sound policy to shut schools, he said.

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  • Winsor Pilates

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