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Schools Issue Swine Flu Alert
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Provoked by an international health crisis traced to swine flu, which has resulted in illness to more than 500 and the death of 19 people in Mexico, confirmation of 244 cases in 34 states (including 29 cases in California) and closing of some schools in the United States, Stanislaus County Health Services Agency has issued warnings to all county residents and sent written warnings to schools.

Officials of the Riverbank Unified School District sent home to parents a letter on Thursday, April 28 passing on the information.

"We have received some questions regarding the swine flu outbreak. It is important to know that there is no swine flu reported in Stanislaus County and all schools remain open," the letter began.

"We are in contact with the Stanislaus County Office of Education and County health officials who are working closely with state and federal health authorities. While there have been cases of swine flu in California, all have been mild to moderate and those infected are recovering.

"We want you to protect yourself and your family against swine flu. Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

"If you or your child(ren) develop a flu-like illness, you should stay home from work and/or keep your children home from school, and contact your health care provider."

There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy, the letter continued.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

"We will keep you updated with any important information. If you have questions visit the Stanislaus County Emergency website at or call the Stanislaus County Flu Hotline (209) 558-8872," the letter concluded.

"It is important for everyone to protect themselves and their families by practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene," Stanislaus County Health Officer John Walker said. "This includes frequent hand washing, regular use of hand sanitizers, and covering coughs and sneezes. In addition, you should stay home when you are sick."

The symptoms of the H1N1 influenza in humans are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with human H1N1 influenza.