Five schools across Melbourne have been closed due to swine flu outbreaks. They are Mill Park Secondary, St John’s Catholic Primary School in Clifton Hill, St Monica’s in Epping, Melbourne Girls College in Richmond and Thornbury High School.

Although Melbourne Girl’s College in Richmond remained open for two days following a Year 9 student testing positive to the virus, it was shut down today following the confirmation of two more cases.

Fotoula Margaronis, whose two daughters attend the college, says that she is concerned but not panicking about the situation. Although her older daughter is in the same year level as the girl identified, she is relieved that Irene was not in the same class and does not believe that she has had direct contact with the affected girl.
“I’ll keep an eye on my girls within the next 24 to 48 hours and if they come down with any symptoms I will act on it.”

Clifton Hill Primary School re-opened yesterday a week after a nine-year old student was the first Victorian to be identified with the swine flu. The primary
school had been closed since Thursday of last week.

Maria Tsopanis, whose eight-year old son attends the school is happy with the way the principal handled the situation.

“Besides the initial confusion last Wednesday-when the school was not closed down immediately following the identified cases, I think
that the communication link between the school and the parents was well developed,” she said.

“My son has been bored and is ecstatic that he has returned back to school.”

The national swine flu toll is hovering around the 150 mark, with Victoria’s acting Chief Medical Officer affirming that one in
five Australians could contract the H1N1 strain. Special flu clinics have been set up at Plenty Valley Community Health at the Northern Hospital, Dandenong and Clayton community rehabilitation centres, the Melton Super Clinic, the Craigieburn Clinic, and the Austin and Royal Children’s Hospitals.

families have been heeding the advice of the government and health authorities that they should see a doctor if they are concerned about flu-like illness and this has led to a significant increase in visits to hospital emergency departments,” Premier John Brumby said.

“Our advice is still for parents to take their children if they develop symptoms to their local doctor who will then refer them to the clinics if necessary.”