Flu hits South Bay schools late in the season

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- It may be spring break time but the flu season is very much in full swing in the South Bay.

At Simonds Elementary school the current outbreak is centered on a fourth-grade class where 50-percent of the kids are out sick with flu-like illnesses. There are a total of six confirmed cases of influenza A at the school with 33 students out sick Thursday.

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Melinda Landau is a registered nurse in charge of health across the San Jose Unified School District. She said, "What we're seeing at the school is a higher than expected number of kids that have influenza-like symptoms so fever, cough, sore throat."

The entire state of California, in fact, is in the red according to the state department of public health meaning flu activity is elevated and widespread.

The state's surveillance program notes that influenza AH3 viruses are increasingly being detected and that genetic analysis shows that many belong to a new branch of the virus that is not well matched to the component in this seasons flu vaccine.

Parents at the school were not terribly worried-- with one mom saying her son had the flu and recovered.

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The school district launched an intense cleaning campaign, wiping down doorknobs and light switches that they say is paying off.

Landau said, "You have to remember there's still flu out there and to be diligent. I met with other nurses and we're hearing it throughout the Southbay, we are seeing more students with influenza. It hasn't gone away. Some years it goes away by now but this year it hasn't."

The district advises parents to keep their children home if they are sick. And it's a reminder to everyone else to take precautions, like washing hands, to keep from getting the wrong kind of "spring fever."

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