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Pediatric Deaths in
Flu-Infested Schools in CO and SC
September 24, 2009
Bryan Pineda, 13, was found unconscious
at his home Wednesday and later died at Breckenridge Medical Center.
On Friday he tested positive
for Type A flu, and “currently 99 percent of positive Type A flu tests
are thought to be 2009 H1N1 (swine) influenza,” according to a joint
statement from Summit County Public Health and Coroner Joanne
Summit High School principal
Drew Adkins said 105 students missed school Tuesday due to illness,
with 46 reporting flu symptoms. That's nearly 13 percent of the student
Laurence Manning Academy
announced Tuesday that the school will close its doors until Monday.
The headmaster of the school
told News19 that there are no confirmed cases of Swine Flu. It's
estimated that 200 kids missed class Monday, and 280 were out of class
About 1,000 students attend
the private school.
Ashley Pipkin was a
fifth-grade student at Laurence Manning Academy in Manning. Family
members said Pipkin began to feel bad Monday with flu-like symptoms.
She took a codeine-based cough medicine and began having trouble
Ashley's family said she was
a healthy, active child who played softball.
The above comments describe two pediatric deaths announced
yesterday. One (14M) was a high school student in Colorado who
attended a school (see map)
with more than 13% of students absent, while the other (11F) attended a
school that was closed because over 25% of students were absent (see map).
The level of H1N1 circulating in those schools was likely considerably
higher than the absentee rates, because students without
fever were likely still attending school. Fever is in the
H1N1 case definition, and most students with swine flu without fever
are not tested or sent home from school.
Neither news story suggests the students had underlying conditions and
the parents of the elementary student maintain that she was “healthy”
and “active” in softball. These cases are similar to other
pediatric cases who played football or soccer days before they
died. These cases were also in areas over-run with swine flu,
raising concerns that these schools that remain open when absenteeism
exceeds 10% are creating an environment that leads to unnecessary
deaths in previously healthy children.
The swine flu levels are misrepresented by local officials with
statements of no confirmed swine flu in the area. The lack of
confirmation is linked to a lack of testing. Most state health
departments do not test samples from previously healthy cases without
underlying conditions or not hospitalized. Private physicians
also rarely test for H1N1 because it is not flu season, so almost
all cases that are influenza A positive are infected with swine flu and
expensive confirmatory tests are not ordered.
Similarly, the percentage of students with H1N1 are under-represented
because those without fever are not even tested for influenza A.
Moreover, symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are not
considered to be flu-like. Thus, even though more than 11% of the
students were absent in the Colorado school district, 5% were said to
have flu-like conditions, while the 6% with sore throat and/or
gastrointestinal problems, were not classified as “flu-like” even
though sore throat and gastrointestinal problems are swine flu symptoms.
Moreover, those who are influenza A positive are frequently described
as seasonal or “normal” flu cases, even though state agencies report no
seasonal flu cases and the latest weekly CDC report indicates that 97%
of samples positive for flu are subsequently confirmed as swine
flu. Similarly, those with a sore throat are said to have strep
throat, those with a running nose and headache are said to have
allergies or a cold, those with a cough are said to have bronchitis,
and those with gastrointestinal problems or vomiting are said to have a
Consequently, schools with H1N1 levels as high as 25% are said to have
no confirmed H1N1 and/or flu-like conditions in less than 5% of the
misrepresentations lead to additional spread within the school district
and unnecessary deaths in previously healthy children and adolescents.
at Nature Precedings