Public health officials are seeing a number of outbreaks of swine flu at schools nationwide, but closing those schools may not always be the best public health measure, a federal scientist said Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, there is no approach that guarantees protection from infectious disease spread by things like influenza viruses," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for the science and public health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Vaccine may be the best approach."
Long-term dismissal of classes would cause major disruption, she told reporters in a conference call. "We typically would reserve that kind of thing for a very severe influenza virus."
In addition, even shutting schools for an extended period of time would not guarantee that outbreaks would be halted, since children could still be exposed to the novel flu virus, also called 2009 H1N1, in other settings, she said.
"Local authorities and the CDC are working together to strike a balance between measures that may have an effect on slowing transmission and those that may cause other problems," she said. Learn more about the 2009 H1N1 virus Read full article »