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Flu spreading slowing throughout school district

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By Carol A. Clark

The flu is slowly spreading to other schools in the district since starting with a bang at Los Alamos Middle School last week.

“Today the middle school reports 125 out,” said Los Alamos Public Schools Business Manager John Wolfe this morning. “That’s down from 129 yesterday. The number is a little difficult to track because some kids are coming back perhaps a little early, and then the school nurse had to sending them back home.”

Five staff members are out at LAMS with four sick and one staying home because of at-risk children in the household, he said.

Los Alamos High School is not seeing a significant number of illnesses reported, Wolfe said. Pinon Elementary School seems to have the most absences with 19 students out sick as of this morning.

Aspen Elementary School has four absences Tuesday and 11 today. Barranca Elementary School had 10 children out Tuesday and four today. Mountain Elementary School had seven out Tuesday and three today and Chamisa reported six students out Tuesday and eight out today.

School officials will continue monitoring the situation closely and provide regular updates.

Meanwhile, New Mexico health officials said they expected to begin receiving swine flu vaccine as early as mid-October. Federal officials said this week the vaccine will be shipped in stages to the states.

State Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil told the Associated Press that because vaccine shipments arrive in stages, officials plan to vaccinate priority groups first.

That includes pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old, children and young adults age 6 months to 24 years old, health care workers and emergency personnel and people up to 64 years old with health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from flu.

Vigil said officials have been planning for mass vaccination clinics and are well prepared for the fall flu season.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or 505-662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.