State, schools officials monitoring swine flu

Staff reports
Symptoms of swine flu, provided by CDC material.

Both Ascension Parish School District  and state officials are paying close attention to reports of swine flu across the country.

Ascension Schools Superintendent Donald Songy said in a letter posted on the district's Web site that although there are no known cases in Louisiana, district officials are taking the situation "very seriously."

Songy said school nurses have maintained contact with the state epidemiologist and are following all of recommendations to protect the health of students and employees.

As a precaution, schools in the Lafayette area and in Brusly have closed temporarily, though officials have stressed that the cases are unconfirmed as swine flu.

The closed schools are: Our Lady of Fatima School and St. Pius of Lafayette and St. Cecilia School in Broussard. Brusly Elementary School, in West Baton Rouge Parish, will be closed Friday because of concerns about a student with flu-like symptoms.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said test samples from eight people across the state have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether they have swine flu.

Dr. Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana State Health officer with the Department of Health and Hospitals, said Thursday in a release that some confirmed cases of swine flu are anticipated.

DHH added that the cases are still only “suspected cases," according to the release.