Illness outbreak shuts down Seattle high schoolon May 8, 2012 @ 3:13 pm (Updated: 7:24 pm - 5/8/12 )
In a letter to families, principal Kristine Brynildsen- Smith addressed that many students were out sick, and at least three had been diagnosed with Pertusis (whooping cough), a flu virus of high fever, congestion and cough or are experiencing symptoms.
While school is closed through at least Thursday, student athletics will go on as scheduled after Blanchet administrators consulted with local health officials.
The Washington State Department of Health has reported whooping cough cases reaching unprecedented epidemic levels. King County health officials report 187 confirmed cases so far in 2012.
But James Apa, spokesman with the Public Health Seattle & King County, says after reviewing the Blanchet illnesses, officials believe the outbreak is influenza related rather than whooping cough.
"We know that Pertusis is in the community, but based on what they're describing to us this really sounds flu driven."
Apa says the department is not recommending the school closure because it likely won't prevent any further illness given the large number of students and staff already experiencing symptoms.
But health officials are encouraging people to check with their doctors to make sure their vaccinations are current to protect against Pertusis.
Most insurance plans cover the vaccinations. But Governor Gregoire recently took emergency action to free up state money to purchase more vaccine and make it available to those lacking coverage.
Cause of Collapse
The I-5 bridge over the Skagit River likely collapsed after a support was struck by a semi truck
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