The Harrison County Board of Education sent a letter to parents earlier this week warning of an outbreak of flu in schools that has affected up to 15 percent of students in the county.
“This is the first year that I can recall that we’ve seen this many children out at one given time with the flu,” Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department Nurse Director Margaret Howe-White said Wednesday.
Flu or cold-like symptom related absences have led to an absence rate ranging from two to fifteen percent since flu season began.
“In Harrison County, it’s widespread,” Howe-White said. “We have flu in almost every school in the county.”
“As far as community outbreaks, the schools seem to be the most hard hit this year.”
The Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department did not advise the Board of Education to close the schools.
“The germ lives two to eight hours on the surface,” she said. “Therefore, at the end of the day your children go home. By the next morning, those germs are gone.”
Howe-White said students who make multiple classroom and/or desk switches during the school day face greater risk.
“Touch that surface, put your hands around your face, mouth, or nose?” she said. “You end up with that infection.”
The Health Department offered a number of suggestions for parents, but Howe-White said the most important item is caution.
to read more of the story from Alex Wiederspiel.