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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

9 students miss class with H1N1

Advertiser Staff

A brief rash of swine flu at an undisclosed school on Maui in late March was the first H1N1 outbreak at a Hawai'i school this influenza season, the state Department of Health said.

Nine students in a kindergarten class were absent from school in late March, which required the school to report the possible outbreak to health officials, DOH spokeswoman Janis Okubo said. Okubo said the department confirmed that the school had a mild outbreak of H1N1 influenza.

Some of the affected students were either not vaccinated or had not received the recommended two doses for children younger than 10.

"Subsequent to that there were a few more incidents reported at the school in April," Okubo said. "Some of those cases were seasonal flu as well as H1N1. Some of them came out negative for flu, so there was some kind of respiratory pathogen that was being circulated."

Okubo declined to give the name of the school or whether it is public or private.

Schools with at least 10 percent absenteeism schoolwide or 20 percent absenteeism per class are required to report a potential outbreak of an illness to the Health Department. The DOH is required to conduct an investigation.

The Health Department reminds parents for the need to get their children vaccinated for flu. For children under 10, two doses of H1N1 vaccine are needed.

For information on getting the H1N1 vaccine, call 211 or contact your doctor. Also visit http://flu.hawaii.gov and click on the map for a list of vaccinators.