Flu Bug Nibbling Around Schools - The Missourian: Communities

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Flu Bug Nibbling Around Schools

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Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2013 7:45 am | Updated: 7:33 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

Despite a rampant and deadly influenza season across the country in which no state is immune, both the St. Clair and Lonedell school districts have not had to deal with an abnormal amount of student cases so far, administrators said.

Principals at the four St. Clair R-XIII district schools said there are cases of flu among students, but nothing yet out of the ordinary.

“We have several kids who have come and gone sick, but nothing abnormal from any other year so far,” high school Principal Kevin Hillman told The Missourian late this week. “We change from day to day, but nothing alarming.”

Junior high Principal Steve Weinhold said attendance numbers were down in December, but he did not know whether that was related to an increase in flu cases.

“(But), since break (is over), we are back to normal on attendance,” he said.

Edgar Murray Elementary School Assistant Principal Larrinda Witt told The Missourian this week that there have been only three confirmed flu cases so far. Principal Kent Sherrow told St. Clair Board of Education members during their meeting Thursday night that a few students have gone home sick.

St. Clair Elementary School Principal Nadine Myers said Thursday night that illness “is running about the same as last year.

“There’s nothing out of the norm,” she said.

At St. Clare Catholic School, which serves youngsters through eighth grade, Principal Mary Hoffman said the flu is there, but not necessarily at an increased rate.

“We are averaging about one to two students out in a class,” she said.

At Lonedell R-XIV, which also educated students through eighth grade, Principal Jen Ulrich said attendance is normal.

“We are doing well here,” she said.

The local comments differ from what Missouri and even Franklin County is experiencing in general in regards to the flu.

According to a report issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services, the state had 9,842 reported flu cases during the last week of 2012. During the same period in 2011, there were 378 cases.

The emergency department and urgent care clinics of Mercy Hospital Washington also reported a spike in flu cases at the end of December.

Countywide, the number of influenza cases continues to increase.

At the end of December, there were 220 flu cases reported in Franklin County, a drastic increase over the same time period last year when less than 20 cases were reported during the same time period.

Tony Buel, epidemiology specialist with the Franklin County Department of Health, said that flu season has a while to go, so it is still worth it for people to get a flu shot.

Flu cases in Franklin County started being reported Sept. 2.

Cases really started going up the second week of December. But Buel said the state has still not labeled it an epidemic, since the cases have not gone to unusually high levels.

Last year, high numbers of flu did not start showing up until February, and there ended up being more than 700 cases.

— Missourian Staff Writer Susan Miller contributed to this story.

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