4 more Colorodans test positive for swine flu | AspenTimes.com

4 more Colorodans test positive for swine flu

Alysia Patterson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Health officials say four more Coloradans have tested positive for swine flu, bringing the state total to 10 cases.

The Colorado Department of Public Health said Tuesday that the new cases were a second school-age child from the Excel Academy Charter School in Arvada, a child from Park Lane Elementary School in Aurora, a University of Colorado-Boulder student from Adams County and a woman in her 30s from Fremont County.

None has been hospitalized.

Park Lane announced Tuesday it will be closed starting Wednesday until further notice. Excel Academy announced earlier this week it would be closed through Friday.

Federal health officials recommended the opposite course of action Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said schools with reported cases should remain open and that currently closed schools could reopen.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the swine flu virus had turned out to be milder than initially feared.

The government last week advised schools to shut down for about two weeks if there were suspected cases of swine flu.

Superintendent John Barry at Aurora Public Schools said that while he was aware of the revised recommendation, “we decided to be conservative regarding the safety and health of our students, staff and families” in deciding to close Park Lane.

In Boulder, CU officials said Monday the student suffering from the flu lived in a residence hall but had no roommates and agreed to a voluntary quarantine. Spring classes have concluded at the university, though students are taking final exams. Commencement ceremonies Friday are still on.

Despite the new cases, Ned Calonge, chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health, said, “the signs continue to be cautiously reassuring.”

“We actually have more seasonal cases than we do H1N1 cases,” he said.

Calonge also noted that the number of cases reported are “just a snapshot of the cases that are out there.” Many people who contract H1N1 do not suffer symptoms serious enough to visit a health professional, he said.

“We’re really urging people not to come in” unless they have suppressed or compromised immune systems, Calonge said.

Calonge said the virus could be affecting a disproportionate amount of young people because “many of us who are a little bit older may have been exposed to circulating H1N1 — there was swine flu in the 1970s.”

Two of the 10 people in Colorado with swine flu are baggage handlers at the Denver airport, and Denver Public heath officials are investigating possible links.

Denver Public Health said that one of the latest confirmed patients works at Denver International Airport. Another DIA baggage handler was one of the first two swine flu patients confirmed last week.

Health officials said last week it was unlikely the first baggage handler picked up the virus from luggage.

He works for United Airlines. Authorities haven’t said which airline the other patient works for.

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