Swine flu fears close 3 Brooklyn schools

BROOKLYN - Three Brooklyn Catholic schools will close until Monday after students exhibited symptoms of swine flu Tuesday.

Students at Good Shepherd School in Marine Park, St. Brigid's in Bushwick and Bishop Kearney High School in Mapleton came down with swine flu-like symptoms. According to the Associated Press, a sixth-grader at St. Brigid's has a sibling at St. Francis Preparatory in Queens, where more than two dozen swine flu cases have been confirmed. The alleged swine flu cases at the two Brooklyn schools have yet to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the meantime, two people were tested and released from Interfaith Medical Center after being admitted with flu-like symptoms Tuesday. A Bronx 2-year-old was also hospitalized with swine flu-symptoms Tuesday.

According to the Brooklyn Archdiocese, the schools were closed as a precaution. The Archdiocese plans to monitor the swine flu situation in borough schools closely. Father Jim Kelly, of St. Brigid's School, says the decision to close was made to limit students' exposure to the possible cases.

Parents of students who attend St. Brigid say they don't think the schools' closure is an overreaction. According to one student's uncle, she is especially susceptible to illness after recently recovering from cancer.

Samples of the two Brooklyn individuals' tests were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. New York City health officials say a woman was treated and released from a Brooklyn hospital with a possible case of swine flu. The woman reportedly has been in contact with someone who traveled to Mexico. It is unclear, however, whether the female patient was one of the two people who were tested Tuesday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city is making every effort to keep the virus at bay. The CDC says at least 51 cases of the swine flu have been confirmed thus far in New York.

"We expect that if the swine flu continues to spread, we may sadly see people either in New York City or nationally would become very sick and die," Bloomberg says. "And we're just going to do everything we can to reduce that risk."

The CDC continues to monitor the spread of the virus. So far, at least 93 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. Health officials advise people to constantly wash their hands, cover the mouths when coughing or sneezing and stay home if they are feeling ill. The government is reminding people that swine flu spreads from person to person, and is not food-borne.

AP wire services contributed to this report.

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