Catholic girls school to close 2nd straight day because of flu

February 11, 2005|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

An all-girls parochial school in North Baltimore will be closed for the second straight day after a quarter of its students stayed home sick two days this week, many apparently with the flu.

More than 100 of the Institute of Notre Dame's 426 students were absent Tuesday and Wednesday, some because doctors had diagnosed type-A influenza. On the advice of physicians and the school nurse, administrators decided to keep the building closed until Monday.

"We just decided it would be best," said Ann Seely, the principal. "It was precautionary."

The apparent flu cluster at the school seems to be isolated. Local public school districts have reported no major outbreaks, although some county health departments have reported an increase in flu cases in recent weeks.

As of Saturday, slightly more than halfway through the flu season, Maryland had reported 850 confirmed cases. Last year, the state recorded almost 2,200 for the season, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called for a rationing of vaccine at the onset of the current flu season because of a shortage, announced yesterday that an estimated 3.5 million doses are available. Because flu activity often peaks in February and the virus can continue to circulate, health officials said it is not too late to be immunized.

The Baltimore Health Department will hold a flu-shot clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the War Memorial Building, 101 N. Gay St. Shots are free to city residents.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health will hold a clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the same day at its Annapolis office, 3 Harry S. Truman Parkway. Appointments can be made by calling 410-222-4896.

Sun staff writers Larry Carson, Lisa Goldberg, Sheridan Lyons and Sarah Schaffer contributed to this article.

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