Southern Nevada Health District officials are investigating a suspected influenza outbreak that caused 151 students to stay home from Marion Earl Elementary School on Tuesday, officials said.
On Monday, 101 students also were absent from the school, at 6650 W. Reno Ave., near Jones Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue.
Health officials collected test specimens on Tuesday and expect to know by this morning whether the outbreak is influenza related and the particular strain of flu.
As of Tuesday, “we have no confirmed cases of swine flu at Marion Earl,” said Diana Taylor, the director of health services for the Clark County School District. “We have students with flulike symptoms.”
There are no plans to close the year-round school, which has an enrollment of 614. It was operating at about half capacity Tuesday because another fifth of its students were on a regular vacation break.
School officials sent home a letter urging families to take necessary health precautions such as frequently washing hands, covering their coughs and letting children stay home if sick.
Taylor added that “students can return as soon as they’re not showing signs or symptoms: They’re fever free; they’re not coughing any more.”
Some students who were ill on Monday returned to school on Tuesday, she said.
Dr. John Middaugh, the director of community health for the Southern Nevada Health District, said, “We’re very hopeful the symptoms will continue to be mild. We have no reports of severe illness.”
Middaugh said it’s common for a seasonal flu to “cluster in a school or classroom.”
“For this to happen is not unusual or unexpected,” he added. “We don’t really know why this particular school or this particular classroom seemingly got harder hit than some other school. We hope the virus will run its course, the kids will recover and be back at school.”
Since the swine flu scare, Taylor said school officials have been very careful to clean campuses.
Contact reporter James Haug at email@example.com or 702-374-7917.