Possible swine flu case reported in Newton

Staff reports

The city of Newton learned this morning that one resident has been diagnosed as a probable case of H1N1 (swine-origin) influenza. This means that lab testing indicates this person will likely be a confirmed case. We expect to have additional confirmed cases as the outbreak progresses.

New information suggests that the severity of illness from this type of flu is not greater than the typical seasonal influenza that circulates in our community every year. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines about testing, treatment and school closure have changed significantly from last week.

Rather than closing individual schools based on a probable or confirmed H1N1 (swine-origin) influenza cases, MDPH recommends a policy focused on keeping all students with symptoms of influenza out of school during their period of illness and recuperation, when they are potentially infectious to others.

This change in policy is an enhanced version of the approach recommended during our yearly influenza season. School closure makes less sense at this point in the outbreak given what we are observing about disease transmission and the severity of illness.

New MDPH Recommendations to Decrease (swine-origin) Influenza A H1N1 in Schools