5th case of H1N1 confirmed in New Hanover County

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Health officials have confirmed a fifth case of H1N1 in New Hanover County.

Authorities say the newest case is a student from Sunset Park Elementary.  The student was admitted to the hospital but has since been discharged.

"In the fall when we see our seasonal influenza are we going to see two strains of H1N1 and another seasonal flu or are we going to see a stronger H1N1 - we have to be prepared," said New Hanover Board of Health Chairman Robert Weedon.

17 people in New Hanover County have been tested for the flu strain, but only five have come back positive.

About 25% of students at Sunset Park Elm. stayed home from school Wednesday, after learning about the possible case.

The school notified parents Tuesday afternoon using their "Alert Now" call system.  They also canceled a book fair that was scheduled for Tuesday night so the school could be thoroughly cleaned.

During a meeting Wednesday morning, health officials discussed the recent H1N1 outbreaks and addressed concerns that the health department isn't doing enough to protect students from the virus.

"We base our decisions on scientific evidence and the scientific evidence does not support a mass closing of school with a low number of cases," said Weedon.  "It sounds really good to say we're going to close schools for two weeks scrub them all down, but realistically, there's no scientific evidence that supports that prevents the spread of H1N1."

Custodians stayed at Sunset Park Elm. late Tuesday night to ensure it was sanitized before students returned to classes Wednesday.

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