A school near the French city of Toulouse in southwestern France has been closed, after a group of children fell ill with the A (H1N1) virus. The cases appear to be the first in the country that hasn't been brought in from abroad.
AFP - French officials on Sunday confirmed seven cases of swine flu in a group of children from the same school in an outbreak that did not appear to have been brought in from abroad.
The cases from the outbreak led to 13 children, all aged around 11, being hospitalised in the southwest of the country with suspected A(H1N1) infections.
So far seven of the students, all from Quint-Fonsegrives, close to Toulouse, have been confirmed as having the infection after the group was taken in overnight between Saturday and Sunday.
The remaining six students are considered "probable" cases, local authorities said, but their teacher had tested negative.
The children have also been given a course of anti-viral medication, local authorities said.
"The unique thing about this situation is that these cases are not linked to a trip abroad. The virus is present in our country," said Anne-Gaelle Baudouin-Clerc, chief of staff to the prefect of the Haute Garonne region.
"There is no link with someone who has returned from a voyage," the National Institute for Health Control in Paris said.
The seven confirmed infections bring to 87 the number of reported swine flu cases in France since the end of April -- the vast majority of which were linked to people who had returned from travel abroad.
The development came after France refused to follow the lead of the World Health Organisation and raise its swine flu alert level from five to the maximum six on Thursday.
The swine flu outbreak has not claimed any lives in the country.
Fewer than 150 people have died from the A(H1N1) virus and WHO officials have cautioned that raising the alert level did not mean that they were expecting the death toll to rise dramatically.
Date created : 2009-06-15