City has 2nd probable case of swine flu

A 13-year-old who attends a Nashua public school probably has H1N1 also know as swine flu, city officials reported Tuesday, but apparently did not attend class since becoming contaminated.

That report came as the state epidemiologist indicated the disease is proving no more of a threat than other strains of the flu.

“All cases are doing quite well and recovering. In fact, some are fully recovered and have no symptoms whatsoever,” said state epidemiologist Jose Montero during a press briefing Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, New Hampshire has two confirmed cases of H1N1, both of them hospital workers in Concord, and six probable cases, including a pair of 13-year-olds in Nashua.

One Nashua case was reported Monday, involving a teen who attends school in Massachusetts.

The second case involves a teen who attends public school in Nashua, and who apparently contracted the disease while on vacation out of town during school break last week. The student has not attended school since that vacation, nor has the student’s sibling, who is also a pupil in Nashua, according to Superintendent of Schools Christopher Hottel.

If either had attended school this week, Hottel said several factors would have been considered before deciding whether to close school, including who they came in contact with and how contagious they were.

“Without having either of the kids in school, I would not close a school,” said Hottel.

Hottel reported that Nashua schools would continue to send home students with any flu-like symptoms, and urged parents to keep children home if there was any suspicion of flu.

On Monday, state epidemiologist Montero recommended that schools stay open even if cases of H1N1 were found among their students, because of the apparent mildness of the disease. On Tuesday, officials with the Centers for Disease Control agreed.

Public health officials continue to say that hygiene, including frequent hand-washing, is the best way to stay healthy.

“This is very similar to seasonal flu, and the advice is just the same as with seasonal flu: stay home if you’re sick, take proper precautions,” said Ashley Conley, epidemiologist for the city of Nashua.

Other New Hampshire probable cases include two teens at Kearsarge High School who traveled out of state together and encountered somebody who had been in Mexico. The Kearsarge school was closed Monday but reopened Tuesday on recommendation of Montero’s office.

Concern over the spread and severity of N1H1 has lessened considerably in recent days throughout the world, even in Mexico, where it was first reported.