A Virginia school district reports nearly half of students absent this week with flu-like symptoms and gastroenteritis, as US health officials become more concerned about this year’s flu season.
A total of 1,000 Stafford High School students are absent with flu-like or gastrointestinal symptoms. “Our Health Services team is working with the local health department to identify the cause,” Sandra K. Osborn, Stafford County Public Schools’ chief communications officer, said.
A total of 2,100 students attend Stafford High School in Fredericksburg, a city in northern Virginia.
According to a message on Stafford High School’s website, school activities have been postponed through the weekend.
“In light of the high number of student and staff illnesses reported this week, all Stafford High School activities and athletics are canceled through Sunday, October 23. We will reassess conditions on Monday and provide you with further information,” a message read.
As of last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the highest levels of seasonal flu activity in the nation’s southeast and south-central regions.
There has also been an increase in flu-like symptoms among students in other US school districts. According to a school spokesperson, two high schools in San Diego Unified School District reported high absence rates last week, with one school recording almost 1,000 absences out of 2,600 students.
It is common for influenza activity in the US to increase in October and to peak between December and February.