H1N1 Flu Update

Fresno, CA State and local health officials felt enough time had passed and there was no threat of students being further exposed to the virus. And now, the federal government is saying schools no longer need to close down because of the flu threat.

Watch video above for a complete report on Mountain View Elementary School.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just announced the government is changing its advice on closing schools. She said the swine flu has turned out to be milder than initially feared and is no longer recommending schools close because of the H1N1 virus.

As the flu threat seems to have leveled off, doctors are refusing to say efforts taken to combat the flu were an overreaction.

It's become a familiar sight across the nation, the scrubbing of busses, the closing of schools once new cases of H1N1 virus, or Swine Flu, are confirmed.

"I think people are definitely overreacting, like, yeah, it's just like, I feel like it's just the common cold with a name," said one student.

However, officials claim the aggressive response to new cases seems to be working. There are now more than 400 cases in the U.S. throughout 36 states, but the virus appears to be manageable as patients are recovering within days.

Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary said, "We are, therefore, cautiously optimistic, but nevertheless we realize that this is not the time to rest."

Scientists are accelerating their search for a vaccine. "We will be testing several vaccines simultaneously in the units, and we will start with relatively small numbers of individuals in the clinical trials," said Dr. Wendy Keitel, Director, Baylor Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit.

Until then, the focus is on what individuals can do to protect themselves.

Health officials say practicing good hygiene now is good practice for a possible future pandemic. Dr. Herb Dupont with U.T. School of Public Health: "It will pay off one day when we have a very virulent strain. We were lucky with this one."

The southern hemisphere's regular flu season will begin soon. Doctors will be watching closely to get a feel for what may be in store during flu season in the U.S..

(Diana Alvear, ABC News, Chicago)


Mexican nationals are on their way home from China after being forced into quarantine.

The same plane will make different stops around china to pick up other Mexicans forced into quarantine. In addition, China has now banned all pork products from Mexico and parts of the United States and Canada; even though health experts say eating pork doesn't spread the H1N1 virus.

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