Special help for flu-stricken school
St Paul’s Primary School in Karratha has been hit so hard by sickness that Pilbara Population Health was called in.
In several letters addressed to parents and carers posted on the St Paul’s Primary School Facebook page last week, principal Gina Burns said “a high number” of students had called in absent because of sickness with flu-like symptoms such as a fever, chill, headache, muscle pain, sore throat and cough.
They said there had been three confirmed cases of influenza A and one confirmed case of parvovirus — which is caused by a different virus than the one that infects dogs — among them.
Staff have also reportedly been affected, with the school having to allegedly merge several classes and postpone a charity “lapathon” event because of low numbers.
Pilbara Population Health visited St Paul’s last Wednesday after a call from the school requested their intervention for a plan to stop any infection spreading further.
WA Country Health Service Pilbara public health physician Stephanie Davis said testing had shown the flu was the main illness that had infected the school body.
“Some of the affected students have since had medical tests that show they are suffering from influenza (the flu) ... the Pilbara is currently experiencing high levels of flu,” she said.
Other local schools and childcare centres have since been sent notice of the prevalence of flu.
Dr Davis said she recommended a flu shot as well as infected people staying away from school, handwashing, and covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
“In the last two days the Karratha school health nurse has held sessions on these techniques with all classes at St Paul’s,” she said.
A letter from Dr Davis posted on the St Paul’s Primary School Facebook page last week said the school already had good procedures.