May 18, 2009

Flu exposure, chronically ill, see doctor

People with conditions such as diabetes, emphysema and asthma who have been exposed to someone with flu should see a doctor, New York health officials advise.

Flu spreads, and that is what the H1N1 virus is doing. While the symptoms of H1N1 (swine origin) flu seem to resemble those of seasonal flu so far, the H1N1 virus appears to be spreading more rapidly at this time, Dr. Thomas Frieden, health commissioner of New York City and director-to-be of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement. Only time will tell how far, wide and long it will spread.

Frieden and Joel I. Klein, schools chancellor, recommended closing three more school buildings in Queens for up to five school days after documenting unusually high and increasing levels of influenza-like illnesses. Late last week, the city closed five schools in Queens and one in Brooklyn.

We are now seeing a rising tide of flu in many parts of New York City, Frieden said. With the virus spreading widely, closing these and other individual schools will make little difference in transmission throughout New York City, but we hope will help slow transmission within the individual school communities.