Mauldin High School in Greenville County is closed today after 16 to 18 students experienced flu-like symptoms following a recent trip to Disney World in Florida.
Obie Lyles of the Greenville County School District says, “We’re going to be proactive and err on the side of safety. So we decided to close the school down while we wait on test results and to also give us an opportunity to clean both the school and also the school buses that serve Maudlin High School. ”
Lyles said that other Greenville County schools are being advised to closely monitor students and to report any cases of flu-like symptoms to the district’s coordinator of health services.
DHEC officials said Wednesday night at a pandemic management forum in Columbia that they expect that figure will rise as the testing continues.
The first probable cases were connected to a trip to Mexico by Newberry Academy students and three adults. DHEC officials add that 41 other cases are “suspected,” meaning the person went to a high risk area or came into contact with someone with the illness. A number of cases under scrutiny in Horry County have been determined to be standard seasonal flu.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Jerry Gibson says the virus has only been confirmed in ten states or countries. “We are not yet a confirmed exposure state because our probable cases have not yet gotten to the CDC for confirmation, and they’re so backed up it’s going to take a while to do that.”
Those who have been confirmed with a probable or suspected case of swine flu are being asked to stay at home for up to 48 hours.
Dr. Gibson says the virus has been badly named, and there are only rare examples of humans getting the bug from pigs. “This is not a swine virus. This is a cut and paste. It has pieces of two different human viruses, a bird virus and a ‘swine’ virus. It got named swine because ‘bird virus’ was used already.”
Gibson says scientists are working on a more descriptive name, probably “H-1-N-1,” but he says everyone already knows it as “swine virus.”