Respiratory outbreak hits local schools

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

A respiratory outbreak has struck Ancaster High School, forcing the cancellation of sporting events and large group meetings.

Parents received a three-page notification letter from the city’s public health department on Monday. Public health is advising parents to keep students at home if they develop symptoms of illness, including cough, sore throat, headache, lack of appetite, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea. Parents should notify the school in the event of an absence.

Jackie Penman, a spokesperson for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, said Ancaster High has been under outbreak conditions since Oct. 21.

Ancaster Senior Public School was also under outbreak as of earlier this week.

“There are a number of schools affected,” Ms. Penman said on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re getting close to 40 schools now.”

Dr. Ninh Tran, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health, said public health officials conduct screening for respiratory illness when school absenteeism reaches 10 per cent.

If half of the absentee figures are attributed to respiratory illness, or five per cent of the student body, the school is considered to be under outbreak.

The flu shot is the best defense against respiratory illness.

Dr. Tran said in addition to seniors, anyone under 65 with underlying health problems, including adolescents, will be given the highest priority for vaccination.

Dr. Tran said the city’s emergency rooms have been flooded with patients reporting flu symptoms over the past two weeks.

This week, the city has held vaccination clinics for the highest risk population at Dundas Baptist Church, Jackson Square and Chedoke Twin Pad Area, attracting crowds of hundreds.

Free seasonal flu clinics will be offered to everyone six months and older who lives, works, or attends school in Ontario after the H1N1 vaccine has been rolled.

Dr. Tran said anyone showing flu symptoms should stay home and avoid social settings for at least 24 hours after their flu symptoms disappear.

“Obviously we need to encourage the message to stay home if you can,” said Dr. Tran.

In a message posted on the school’s web-site on Monday, Ancaster High principal Judy Langsner thanks staff, students and parents for their support and understanding during the outbreak.

“We have had to postpone some of our events where large numbers of students and/or the public would congregate; however, all other events and trips are being run,” Ms. Langsner states in the message.

“As a courtesy, we are informing the areas we are visiting of the outbreak; if they ask us to reschedule, we are honouring that request. This is a learning experience for all of us, and we appreciate your patience.”

Jackie Bajus, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board superintendent, said seven schools in the separate board were under outbreak by Wednesday.

None of the schools were believed to be in Ancaster, although the Ancaster Catholic schools are also experiencing higher absenteeism rates.

“The (affected) schools affected are all over the city,” Ms. Bajus said.

The Catholic board is asking custodians to clean all surfaces thoroughly to prevent the spread of respiratory illness.

Wash hands

Public health urges students and parents to wash their hands frequently, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Students should cough or sneeze into their sleeve instead of their hands and avoid contact with eyes, nose or mouth.

Parents with questions are advised to call the city’s Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Program at 905-546-2063.

Respiratory outbreak hits local schools

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

A respiratory outbreak has struck Ancaster High School, forcing the cancellation of sporting events and large group meetings.

Parents received a three-page notification letter from the city’s public health department on Monday. Public health is advising parents to keep students at home if they develop symptoms of illness, including cough, sore throat, headache, lack of appetite, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea. Parents should notify the school in the event of an absence.

Jackie Penman, a spokesperson for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, said Ancaster High has been under outbreak conditions since Oct. 21.

Ancaster Senior Public School was also under outbreak as of earlier this week.

“There are a number of schools affected,” Ms. Penman said on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re getting close to 40 schools now.”

Dr. Ninh Tran, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health, said public health officials conduct screening for respiratory illness when school absenteeism reaches 10 per cent.

If half of the absentee figures are attributed to respiratory illness, or five per cent of the student body, the school is considered to be under outbreak.

The flu shot is the best defense against respiratory illness.

Dr. Tran said in addition to seniors, anyone under 65 with underlying health problems, including adolescents, will be given the highest priority for vaccination.

Dr. Tran said the city’s emergency rooms have been flooded with patients reporting flu symptoms over the past two weeks.

This week, the city has held vaccination clinics for the highest risk population at Dundas Baptist Church, Jackson Square and Chedoke Twin Pad Area, attracting crowds of hundreds.

Free seasonal flu clinics will be offered to everyone six months and older who lives, works, or attends school in Ontario after the H1N1 vaccine has been rolled.

Dr. Tran said anyone showing flu symptoms should stay home and avoid social settings for at least 24 hours after their flu symptoms disappear.

“Obviously we need to encourage the message to stay home if you can,” said Dr. Tran.

In a message posted on the school’s web-site on Monday, Ancaster High principal Judy Langsner thanks staff, students and parents for their support and understanding during the outbreak.

“We have had to postpone some of our events where large numbers of students and/or the public would congregate; however, all other events and trips are being run,” Ms. Langsner states in the message.

“As a courtesy, we are informing the areas we are visiting of the outbreak; if they ask us to reschedule, we are honouring that request. This is a learning experience for all of us, and we appreciate your patience.”

Jackie Bajus, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board superintendent, said seven schools in the separate board were under outbreak by Wednesday.

None of the schools were believed to be in Ancaster, although the Ancaster Catholic schools are also experiencing higher absenteeism rates.

“The (affected) schools affected are all over the city,” Ms. Bajus said.

The Catholic board is asking custodians to clean all surfaces thoroughly to prevent the spread of respiratory illness.

Wash hands

Public health urges students and parents to wash their hands frequently, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Students should cough or sneeze into their sleeve instead of their hands and avoid contact with eyes, nose or mouth.

Parents with questions are advised to call the city’s Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Program at 905-546-2063.

Respiratory outbreak hits local schools

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

A respiratory outbreak has struck Ancaster High School, forcing the cancellation of sporting events and large group meetings.

Parents received a three-page notification letter from the city’s public health department on Monday. Public health is advising parents to keep students at home if they develop symptoms of illness, including cough, sore throat, headache, lack of appetite, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea. Parents should notify the school in the event of an absence.

Jackie Penman, a spokesperson for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, said Ancaster High has been under outbreak conditions since Oct. 21.

Ancaster Senior Public School was also under outbreak as of earlier this week.

“There are a number of schools affected,” Ms. Penman said on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re getting close to 40 schools now.”

Dr. Ninh Tran, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health, said public health officials conduct screening for respiratory illness when school absenteeism reaches 10 per cent.

If half of the absentee figures are attributed to respiratory illness, or five per cent of the student body, the school is considered to be under outbreak.

The flu shot is the best defense against respiratory illness.

Dr. Tran said in addition to seniors, anyone under 65 with underlying health problems, including adolescents, will be given the highest priority for vaccination.

Dr. Tran said the city’s emergency rooms have been flooded with patients reporting flu symptoms over the past two weeks.

This week, the city has held vaccination clinics for the highest risk population at Dundas Baptist Church, Jackson Square and Chedoke Twin Pad Area, attracting crowds of hundreds.

Free seasonal flu clinics will be offered to everyone six months and older who lives, works, or attends school in Ontario after the H1N1 vaccine has been rolled.

Dr. Tran said anyone showing flu symptoms should stay home and avoid social settings for at least 24 hours after their flu symptoms disappear.

“Obviously we need to encourage the message to stay home if you can,” said Dr. Tran.

In a message posted on the school’s web-site on Monday, Ancaster High principal Judy Langsner thanks staff, students and parents for their support and understanding during the outbreak.

“We have had to postpone some of our events where large numbers of students and/or the public would congregate; however, all other events and trips are being run,” Ms. Langsner states in the message.

“As a courtesy, we are informing the areas we are visiting of the outbreak; if they ask us to reschedule, we are honouring that request. This is a learning experience for all of us, and we appreciate your patience.”

Jackie Bajus, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board superintendent, said seven schools in the separate board were under outbreak by Wednesday.

None of the schools were believed to be in Ancaster, although the Ancaster Catholic schools are also experiencing higher absenteeism rates.

“The (affected) schools affected are all over the city,” Ms. Bajus said.

The Catholic board is asking custodians to clean all surfaces thoroughly to prevent the spread of respiratory illness.

Wash hands

Public health urges students and parents to wash their hands frequently, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Students should cough or sneeze into their sleeve instead of their hands and avoid contact with eyes, nose or mouth.

Parents with questions are advised to call the city’s Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Program at 905-546-2063.