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Closing Near Knoxville Tennessee
Absences among students due to the flu have reached 20 percent systemwide, with some schools approaching levels as high as 30 percent, according to Jason Vance, assistant director of schools. Teacher absence rates are also approaching 20 percent throughout the system, Vance said.
"After speaking with the county physician, we decided it would be better to close all schools," Vance said.
The strain of flu affecting most of the children seems to be a little worse than usual, Vance said.
The above comments describe the closing of all schools in another school distrct near Knoxville, Tennessee. This district was in the news several days ago, because absenteeism was approaching 10% in several schools. Now the level is up to 20% for the entire system. High levels are also present in adjacent districts (see map), including those who have also elected to close.
This steady rise is being fueled in part by misdiagnosis because many cases present with no fever, which other patients continue to shed virus after fever has subsided.
However, there is also the concern that the large number of cases concentrated in the area lead to more aggressive and fatal cases because of an increase in viral load.
These high concentrations of virus may be repeated worldwide as more schools open and pandemic H1N1 spread accelerates.