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Swine flu confirmed in elementary student in Duluth

DULUTH - A confirmed case of the H1N1 virus, also called the swine flu, has been found in the Duluth school district, an official said today.

District officials were informed by the Minnesota Department of Health this morning that a student attending Homecroft Elementary School has the virus.

"We have been just waiting for it, and today it arrived," said Duluth Assistant Superintendent Joe Hill. He added that school nurses have been on the lookout for the virus since the outbreak first occurred and have been reporting all students and staff who stay home with flu-like symptoms to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Though earlier instances of H1N1 found in Minnesota schools resulted in school closures, Hill said health officials are not advising Duluth to change its schedule.

"There really is no cause for alarm. The virus as we know it now ... is behaving similar to that of the seasonal influenza, so what we normally would see this time of year is how we are currently behaving as a district," Hill said.

The student, who Hill said he understands is doing fine, was in school earlier this week before coming down with the flu strain and has since been out of the building for more than 24 hours, the time period when people are most contagious.

"We have well exhausted that time period, which adds to how we are responding to this," Hill said.

Though a strep virus is going around the district, he said, schools have not seen a spike in students absent from flu symptoms.