VIENNA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Austrian health authorities have voiced concern
that A/H1N1 flu cases may further increase with the beginning of the new school
year in September.
In the first two weeks of September, students will end their summer
vacations and go back to school. In the capital Vienna alone, 670 schools with
220,000 students will open again, which would enable the A/H1N1 disease to
In addition, the weather is turning cooler, which, according to medical
experts, helps the spread of new flu viruses.
Nikolaus Pelinka, spokesperson for the Education Ministry, said the
ministry had required all schools to make preparations before the beginning of
The headmasters, teaching staff and school doctors are required to teach
relevant knowledge about the new flu and its prevention and to remind the
students of taking preventive measures, he said.
According to Pelinka, the government has no plan to close schools as a flu
prevention measure, but it was not ruled out "if a lot of students were
Only when the infection rate reaches 70 percent to 80 percent in a certain
school could this measure be taken, and the decision must be made by the
Education Ministry, he said.
Austrian health authorities decided recently to launch awareness campaigns
to avoid further outbreaks of the new flu.
Since the first imported case was confirmed in Austria at the end of April,
more than 300 cases have been reported in the country, but all the patients have
had only mild symptoms.
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