Influenza Strikes Cambridge Schools
Younger Students Most Susceptible
Absences in Cambridge public schools increased 11.5 per cent yesterday as B-type Singapore influenza moved east across the state, Bert Giroux, director of public information for Cambridge schools, said.
Teachers' absences also increased as many instructors called in sick, Giroux said, adding no plans for cancelling school were being made.
In late Janurary, several elementary schools in western Massachusetts closed because large numbers of children caught the flu.
The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta reported earlier this month that children and teenagers from ages five to 19 are most susceptible to this type of influenza.
Joseph De Cinto, program specialist for the state Communicable Disease Department, said yesterday elementary school children contract the flu the most.
Symptoms of the flu usually include fever, a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and headache.
The sickness is easily transmitted, he said, adding, "If two kids are sneezing in the morning, by noon-time the class could be wiped out."
The flu generally hits one area intensively for a few days and then moves on, DeCinto added.
At the beginning of February, 45 per cent of the students at Somerville's Western Junior High were absent, Joseph Hrubi, Somerville schools' coordinator of community relations, said yesterday, adding now attendance at the school is almost back to normal.
Boston school officials in several districts said school attendence was normal yesterday.
Dr. Sholem Postel of University Health Services (UHS) said UHS has seen only a few cases which may be diagnosed as Singapore B.