A Phoenix school has been ordered closed for a week by Maricopa County health officials due to an apparent flu outbreak.
County public health director Dr. Bob England says Lowell Elementary School has been “experiencing a much higher than normal rate of absenteeism due to illness that looks like flu.”
England ordered the school closed as a precaution until May 26.
He says with swine flu and seasonal flu behaving much the same way, it’s not recommended that students already home with mild illness be tested for swine flu. So, England says it’s likely that the strain of flu will remain unknown.
Lowell Elementary School spokeswoman Sara Bresnahan said officials saw a spike of absences on Monday among the school’s 700-student population. About 20 percent of the student body called in sick.
England ordered three schools closed April 29 after students contracted swine flu. A few days later, he announced he wouldn’t order new closures unless a particular school had a widespread outbreak.