The 2009 H1N1 Flu, commonly referred to as the Swine Flu, has been classified by the World Health Organization as pandemic. This flu was identified in this country in April of 2009 and declared a national public health emergency only weeks later. The 2009 H1N1 Flu so far has not been any more severe than the ordinary seasonal flu, which comes around every fall and winter.
However, there are too many unknowns of what will happen in the next few months. The fear is that seasonal flu and H1N1 flu will “double-team” the population and perhaps overwhelm the nation. Flu spreads more easily during the fall and winter because of the lack of the limited natural immunity to the H1N1 virus, as well as the H1N1 virus could mutate and become more serious and more deadly.
Absenteeism rates and information from public schools are critical data to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) in an effort to track the magnitude and severity of the disease in the state. Children tend to spread the virus quickly. Absenteeism rates not only indicate how many children are out ill but also how many parents may be missing work to care for children.
In collaboration with ADH, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) is partnering with the ADH to collect absenteeism information from all schools in the state. ADH will also be collecting information from hospitals on the number of Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILIs). The combination of this information is very important to the local community. It will help ADH ensure that the appropriate resources are in the areas of the state where the need is the greatest.
Effectively at the release of this memo, each local school should provide absenteeism from Influenza-Like Illnesses to ADH each school day. The school LEA number can only be used once per day. Log in information instructions are as follows:
Password = SchoolFlu0809
User name and password are case sensitive, it is recommended that the information be copied and pasted.
Use the SCHOOL LEA NUMBER as the identifier NOT THE DISTRICT NUMBER. Enter the LEA # in this format ##-##-### with DASHES in between the numbers as shown. Example: if the school LEA is 1234567, please enter 12-34-567.
If there are any questions please call Haytham Safi, MD, MPH, Senior Epidemiologist, Communicable Diseases/Immunizations, Arkansas Department of Health at 501-661-2920 or email: Haytham.email@example.com