46 probable cases of H1N1 flu in Ill.

More Chicago area schools closed
April 30, 2009 9:19:35 PM PDT
More schools in the Chicago area close as the number of probable H1N1 flu cases rises to 46. Eleven schools are now closed.

The closed schools are in Joliet, Batavia, Oswego, Aurora, St. Charles, Streamwood and Chicago.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health and the county health departments, there are 16 probable cases in Chicago; 11 in suburban Cook County; 8 in Kane County; 3 in Will County; 3 in Kendall County; 2 in DuPage County; 2 in Lake County; and 1 in McHenry County.

The cases are called "probable" because they haven't yet been confirmed by federal testing.

Two of the schools -- Sator Sanchez School and Farragut Elementary School in Joliet --will remain closed until Tuesday. Batavia High School, located in Batavia, Ill., will be closed until Monday. Haines Middle School in Saint Charles and Ridge Circle Elementary School in Streamwood were also shut down.

On Thursday, three schools were closed- Kilmer Elementary School in Chicago's Rogers Park, Rotolo Middle School in Batavia, and Marmion Academy in Aurora. Kilmer will remain closed until further notice, according to school officials. Extracurricular activities at Marmion have been canceled through the weekend.

More schools close

Thompson Junior High School in Oswego is one of two schools in the town that is closed. The other is Fox Chase Elementary. There is also a third school in Kendall County in Aurora that is closed. All of the schools in Kendall county are handling the situation the same as all of the schools throughout the Chicago area.

Signs posted on the doors tell the story to anyone who may not have known. Farragut Elementary in Joliet is closed because of the H1N1 flu. And across town, at Sator Sanchez Elementary, it's the same story.

In all, some 1,600 students in District 86 will be off until at least Tuesday. Parents seem to agree that's the right call.

"Precautions are okay. I don't think we need to be panicked or anything. But like any other bug, you just want to make sure that things are okay," said Chris Beamsley, parent.

" They basically just talked about how to wash your hands a lot," said Cece Beamsley, student.

The Joliet district is following the lead of other schools throughout the Chicago area.

Students in 11 schools from St. Charles to Joliet to Oswego have a probable case of H1N1 flu. All the schools are closed for varying amounts of time. Stream wood's ridge circle elementary will be closed for 10 days after an 11-year-old student came down with the flu.

"Our main concern of course is for the safety of our students and staff. And we'll worry about how to make up the days if we have to at the end of the year," said Tony Sanders, District U46 communications officer.

The three Joliet students were diagnosed separately in hospitals. All are home now, recovering.

The district meantime is hoping to contain the transmission to just those students.

" The rationale is to do as much containment of the infectious disease as you can. And to hopefully not have other people getting sick," said Dr. Phyllis Wilson, superintendent.

There are many other schools in all of these districts that are unaffected. And the administrators in Joliet, for instance, are urging the parents of students at those schools to continue sending their children to school unless of course they are sick.

Cinco de Mayo celebration at Navy Pier will go on

A Chicago alderman says concerns about the swine flu will not lead to the cancelation of a Cinco de Mayo celebration after all.

It's scheduled for this weekend at Navy Pier. There will be entertainment and food on the pier and organizers expect a good turnout.

The Mexican Civic Society announced on Wednesday their festivities at the great hall have been canceled. But Alderman George Cardenas says people should not be afraid to attend.

"This is a Chicago event celebrating Cinco de Mayo and I think there's been a lot of hysteria and paranoia," said Ald. George Cardenas, 12th Ward.

Cinco de Mayo marks the victorious battle against French forces in Puebla Mexico in 1862.

Worried about flu and kids? Here's some advice.

The nation's first swine flu death, in a toddler in Texas, has many parents worried. But health experts say the death isn't unexpected, and they're advising just ordinary precautions.

Keep in mind that every year dozens of U.S. children die from seasonal flu; that's one reason annual flu shots are recommended for kids. So far this season, 55 children nationwide have died from regular flu.

Young children are most vulnerable to severe complications from seasonal flu. But most kids who get even the most aggressive flu strains don't die.

Dr. Mark Dworkin is an infectious disease specialist at University of Illinois at Chicago.

He says "nobody should be unduly worried," but everybody should be aware of what's going on and do things like covering coughs and washing hands often.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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