A RASH of suspected swine flu cases have been reported in Mid Cheshire schools.
Three Northwich schools have had children laid low with flu-like symptoms – with bouts of the potentially deadly virus suspected at least two Winsford primary schools, including one ‘confirmed’ case at Wharton Primary.
Three very young children aged two to four from Smallworld Pre-School in Sandiway are thought to have caught the H1N1 bug.
A spokeswoman for the group said: “A couple of the cases are being treated as swine flu because the children are so young. But they’re not confirmed, only suspected.”
Leftwich County High, Weaverham High and St Bede’s Catholic Primary, Weaverham, have all been hit with flu-type infections.
The affected pupils, one from each school, are expected to stay away from school until the end of the summer term.
Weaverham High School headteacher David Charlton told the Chronicle: “We’ve had one pupil, a Year Seven boy, who is staying at home because he has suspected swine flu.
“We’re following the advice of the health authorities who suggest anyone displaying symptoms should stay at home for a week or so.”
A meeting of Winsford headteachers last week was told a Wharton Primary pupil is thought to have contracted the disease. And Willow Wood Primary is understood to have had a suspected swine flu case. Neither school would comment.
The UK now has the third highest number of swine flu cases in the world, after the US and Mexico.
Seventeen people in Britain are now thought to have died after contracting the virus.
Carry on as usual, area's schools told
COUNCIL education chiefs have stressed it is ‘very much business as usual’ at Northwich and Winsford schools.
Both Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) and Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT declined to confirm the specific locations of reported bouts of the H1N1 strain in Mid Cheshire.
But the council admitted precautions have been taken to minimise the spread of flu-like symptoms.
Ann Moore, from CWaC’s children services department, said on Friday: “A number of children and adults in the West Cheshire area, connected directly and indirectly with schools, have been treated with Tamiflu after presenting symptoms similar to those of swine flu.
“Up until last week, all suspected cases were clinically tested, but none known to the local authority have proved positive.
“From July 6, the strategy for managing the virus changed from one of mitigation and containment to treatment.
“Consequently, anyone concerned about symptoms is now asked to contact their GP, who will issue a voucher for collection of the antiviral flu medicine from a recommended centre to those who may have swine flu.
“As a consequence there has been an increase in ‘reported’ cases. Every parent of 58,000 schoolchildren in West Cheshire has received a letter from the Health Protection Agency and relevant PCTŠgiving all necessary advice with regard to this issue.
“Finally, we would stress that it is very much business as usual at all schools in West Cheshire.”