Austria worries about more A/H1N1 cases as new semester approaches

0 CommentsPrint E-mail xinhua, September 3, 2009
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Austrian health authorities have voiced concern that A/H1N1 flu cases may further increase with the beginning of the new school year in September.

In the first two weeks of September, students will end their summer vacations and go back to school. In the capital Vienna alone, 670 schools with 220,000 students will open again, which would enable the A/H1N1 disease to spread rapidly.

In addition, the weather is turning cooler, which, according to medical experts, helps the spread of new flu viruses.

Nikolaus Pelinka, spokesperson for the Education Ministry, said the ministry had required all schools to make preparations before the beginning of the semester.

The headmasters, teaching staff and school doctors are required to teach relevant knowledge about the new flu and its prevention and to remind the students of taking preventive measures, he said.

According to Pelinka, the government has no plan to close schools as a flu prevention measure, but it was not ruled out "if a lot of students were infected."

Only when the infection rate reaches 70 percent to 80 percent in a certain school could this measure be taken, and the decision must be made by the Education Ministry, he said.

Austrian health authorities decided recently to launch awareness campaigns to avoid further outbreaks of the new flu.

Since the first imported case was confirmed in Austria at the end of April, more than 300 cases have been reported in the country, but all the patients have had only mild symptoms.

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