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Swine Flu Spreads

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 2, 2009 9:30PM

Probable cases of the swine flu (H1N1 Influenza A) in the state of Illinois have increased to 85 with 3 more cases confirmed. The Illinois Department of Public Health also confirmed that the first cases in Central Illinois have surfaced. Until now, the cases were confined to the greater Chicagoland area, but now probable cases have popped up in Sangamon County and Winnebago County. State Health Director Dr. Damon Arnold said in a statement, "We anticipated seeing cases of the H1N1 flu virus across Illinois, and we expect to see more. However, there is no need to be alarmed."

Meanwhile, institutions are taking precautionary measures to prevent spread of the strain. The Cook County jail was to begin limiting visitors to inmates as well as begin screening those visitors to help prevent the potential spread of the virus to prisoners. Steve Patterson, Cook County sheriff spokesman, said, "We get hundreds of people every day who are coming into and going out of the jail. We are trying to limit the amount of exposure there might be to this virus until health officials give us clearance."

In addition to that, Chicago Public Schools announced a new policy that goes into effect Monday: any student at a school who shows symptoms (cough and a 100 degree fever) will be sent home and will have to stay home for seven days. Nurses will be given temperature strips to take student temperatures and hand sanitizer will be given to all 200,000 classrooms throughout the Chicago Public School system.

For the latest information, visit the Illinois Department of Health's Swine Flu Info page. [Tribune, Sun-Times]