Flu outbreak in county schools

LINCOLN COUNTY — According to Lincoln County School District officials, school staff are on high alert after flu-like symptoms were observed in multiple students at Sam Case Elementary School and Eddyville Charter School, prompting Lincoln County Public Health to declare an outbreak of the flu.

“There are no outbreaks at any other schools right now,” said Susan Trachsel, public information officer for the Lincoln County Public Health Department. “The only outbreaks are the ones previously reported at Sam Case and Eddyville.”

The number of students at Sam Case Elementary to exhibit flu symptoms rose all the way up to 82 students as of March 6, but Tuesday morning, that number went down to 25.

“For the actual flu, we could need a medical diagnosis,” said district nurse Julie Turner. “We base ‘flu’ on symptoms or actual diagnosis.”

Turner went on to say an outbreak of an illness occurs when 20 percent of the student population misses school.

“Countywide and statewide all schools are affected right now,” Turner said in an email on Tuesday.

Some of the measures the district took recently to help combat the spread of the flu was to further cleaning efforts beyond what normal cleaning each school does. Increasing the amount schools are cleaned, in addition to using products with a higher bleach content, are just some efforts the school district is making.

“We also talk with our custodial staff to increase cleaning and wiping,” Turner said. “[We report] daily to the county as to number of students/staff out ill for flu-like symptoms, notifying students and staff to stay home for 48 hours rather than 24 hours after any diarrhea, fever or vomiting.”

While the number of students out sick isn’t that much higher than last year, Turner added, the outbreak just happens to be later than it was last year.

County public health officials said an outbreak occurs when there are two cases of lab-confirmed flu, and that the department is working with the school district.

“We did speak with the Lincoln County School District nurse to make sure there were no other outbreaks,” Trachsel said Wednesday.


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