CINCINNATI — At least one ill student from the Roselawn Condon School tested positive for influenza A, according to the Cincinnati Health Department.
The department is working with Cincinnati Public Schools to determine the nature of the illness that forced 17 employees and 140 students to call in sick on Wednesday.
About 170 students were out sick Thursday out of the roughly 480 students enrolled at the school, said Cincinnati Public Schools spokesperson Lauren Worley.
"Many of our students who have special medical needs attend that school," Worley said. "Students who have respirators, trachs in their neck -- it's important that those parents communicate well."
The school will be closed Friday due to the "significant number of confirmed cases of Influenza A among students," a district spokesperson said.
Sharon Hutchins, supervising epidemiologist for the Cincinnati Health Department, said the school had a large gathering last week where many students interacted with one another, possibly causing the illness to spread quickly.
"I can share that the Hamilton County Public Health Department has schools right now with influenza A as well," Hutchins said. "It looks like influenza has really hit Cincinnati and our hospitalizations for influenza have also gone up."
Worley said the school district completed a touch-point cleaning of the school. Tissues and hand sanitizers were placed in all classrooms. The school will remain open on Friday.
"We hope that with the three-day weekend students get plenty of rest, lots of fluids. Ready to return to class on Tuesday," Worley said.
There are no classes Monday because of Presidents Day.
The health department sent a letter to parents reminding them to keep students home from school if they had been vomiting in the last 24 hours, have had a fever or shown any signs of a lasting cough.
Read the full letter below:
CPS Letter to Parents Regar... by on Scribd
Hutchins said the outbreak started with the youngest students in kindergarten through third grade. She said outbreaks involving more than 100 students are unusual.
"It’s a large number. It caught everyone’s attention for sure," Hutchins said. "The school is working hard to have everyone on board to take care of it."
Cincinnati schools first contacted the Cincinnati Health Department on Monday. The department collected two specimens which were sent overnight to the Ohio Department of Health for testing.
"We’re hoping to really confirm the outbreak," Hutchins said. "Our working hypothesis is that this is influenza."
Health officials could find out as early as Friday what is behind the dozens of local illnesses.