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Rocklin schools ready to take on swine flu

District taking a ‘proactive stance’ against virus, disinfecting schools, buses
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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Sanitizing, cleaning and re-cleaning are Rocklin Unified School District’s weapons against the swine flu. Using Oxifour, a powerful disinfectant that sanitizes surfaces within one minute, is being used continuously on campuses throughout the district, according to RUSD Superintendent Kevin Brown. “We have taken a very proactive stance,” Brown said. Busses are being disinfected daily, as well as restroom door handles, areas within gymnasiums, counter tops, sinks and drinking fountains are being sanitized two times a day, Brown said. The district office is keeping in close contact with Placer County Health & Human Services through telephone meetings at noon daily. The schools have also been keeping a close watch on attendance rates. “Attendance rates are staying consistent” at Rocklin schools, Brown said. On Tuesday, the district called parents through their TELEPARENT phone system updating parents on the district’s precautions. Teachers are encouraging students to wash their hands with soap and water and reminding students to cover their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. A letter from the Placer County Heath & Human Services Department to parents and students is also linked to RUSD’s Web site for reference and advice. Even though a suspected Placer County case of swine flu came back negative, the department is still keeping high alert. “Like any flu, this is going to go on for weeks,” said Dr. James Gandley, assistant director of Placer County Health & Human Services. “I would anticipate there are going to be more regional cases.” The suspected Placer case was sent in for testing after the patient’s primary care physician determined further testing for swine flu was warranted. No further information about the patient’s age, gender or travel circumstances was released. Samples from about 10 other Placer patients exhibiting symptoms that could be consistent with swine flu were being tested, Gandley said. They were in the “culture stage” and no one was seriously ill, he said. “Right now it’s simply trying to track whether swine is gaining a foothold in the area,” Gandley said. Responding to the spread of the flu into California, Placer County issued a statement early this week advising people to cover their coughs, wash their hands and avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California has a total of 14 laboratory-confirmed cases for swine flu of the 91 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of Wednesday. — Gus Thomson and Nathan Donato-Weinstein contributed to this report. Swine flu Q&A Q: What is swine flu? A: It’s a respiratory disease in pigs that people do not normally get. Swine flu viruses have spread person-to-person but past outbreaks were limited to three people or less. Q: What happened this time to cause this swine flu outbreak? A: Late last month, cases of human swine flu viruses were first reported in Southern California and Texas. The flu may have spread from Mexico, where 150 people have died and the government recently distributed more than 4 million face masks. Q: What are the signs of swine flu in people? A: Symptoms are similar to human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting. In the past, severe illness and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Q: How does swine flu spread? A: It spreads the same way seasonal flu spreads – mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of people with flu. Sometimes people may become infected by touching things with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. Q: Can I get swine flu from eating or preparing pork? A: No. Swine flu viruses are not spread by food. — Information by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention