Lafayette school closed due to suspect flu cases

Staff reports

Governor Bobby Jindal and state health officials announced today the closure of a Lafayette school as a precaution amid concerns of suspect cases of swine flu.

Officials emphasize that there are still no confirmed cases of swine flu in Louisiana.

The closed school is Cathedral Carmel School in Lafayette.

Tests showed five possible cases of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, including one involving a student who recently returned from Mexico.

“I want to emphasize that this is a precautionary step out of concern that some of these students may have the virus," Jindal said. "We’ve got to do everything we can to keep our children and all Louisianans from being exposed if these tests come back positive.

“If this is indeed the swine flu, then it’s very important we contain it immediately. We think it’s prudent to close the school to try to prevent any further spread of the virus.

“Again, I want to highlight how important it is for all Louisianians to take proper steps to protect themselves and prevent the spread of any germs.”

Samples of five Cathedral Carmel School students are being tested by the State Public Health Lab to determine if the sample is un-typable for H1N1 (swine flu) virus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm after the state test. 

The students, all sixth graders, have tested positive for Influenza Type A, which may indicate the H1N1 virus.

DHH epidemiologists and medical experts have confirmed that the family of one of the suspicious cases recently returned from a cruise to Mexico, which may have exposed them to potential infection.

State laboratories will have preliminary results by tomorrow. If a case tests positive for Influenza Type A and the subtype cannot be determined, the sample is immediately forwarded to the CDC lab in Atlanta for confirmation of the H1N1 virus. This is a protocol followed by all states.