State lab confirms two local students have contracted the H1N1 virus

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Officials ponder why local cases are so miild

By Carol A. Clark

Two Los Alamos Middle School students, an Albuquerque High School student and a kindergartner from Kirtland Early Childhood Center near Farmington have been diagnosed with H1N1 influenza. The 5-year-old girl from San Juan County is hospitalized.

While a couple of hundred local students have come down with flu-like symptoms since the middle of last week, none have been hospitalized, which Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Eugene Schmidt commented on late this afternoon.

“The symptoms have been very light with fevers up to 101 degrees, sore throats and dry coughs,” Schmidt said. “Perhaps it’s the healthier lifestyle our students live in Los Alamos, the clean air and good nutrition, we really don’t know yet why the symptoms have been so light.”

The New Mexico Department of Health confirmed the four H1N1 cases late Thursday in a news release.

LAPS Business Manager John Wolfe has been in frequent contact with the New Mexico Department of Health since the flu outbreak began Wednesday of last week. “The best advice we can give parents is to make sure their children experiencing flu symptoms stay home and away from others until 24 hours after their fever breaks without using fever-reducing medications,” Wolfe said this morning. “Yesterday’s numbers, especially at the middle school, were in fact lower so it does appear the spread is slowing down.”

Today’s student absences show 100 out at LAMS,  12 at Aspen,  11  out at Barranca,  14 at Chamisa, nine students absent at Mountain and   19 at Piñon. 

This compares to Thursday’s student absences of 111 at LAMS, 14 at Aspen, 8 at Barranca, eight at Chamisa, three at Mountain and 11 at Piñon.

Los Alamos High School numbers remain insignificant, LAPS officials said.

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