QUEENS, N.Y. (WPIX)—Two public schools and one Catholic school will shut down for up to a week beginning Monday. They are Middle School 158 in Bayside; Intermediate School 25 in Flushing; and Our Lady of Lourdes in Queens Village. That's on top of the six schools closed last week after hundreds of students came down with symptoms associated with the H1N1 virus.
An assistant principal at one school remains critically ill. Officials say Mitchell Wiener worked at I.S. 238 in Hollis, one of the six schools closed. His family has said he's improving slightly, since being rushed to the hospital Wednesday. The principal of that school, Joseph Gates, was treated for flu symptoms Saturday night and released. Details of that diagnosis have yet to be made public.
The infection has surfaced in city jails as well; an inmate at Rikers Island is confirmed to have swine flu. City Correction Department spokesman Stephen Morello says the inmate first complained of symptoms Wednesday. His condition is reportedly not that serious.
Swine flu has killed five people in the U.S., all with underlying illnesses. The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention says more than 4,700 confirmed and probable cases have been reported in 46 states. Internationally, the World Health Organization has been keeping a close eye on the spread of the H1N1 virus in Spain, Britain and Japan, as Tokyo confirmed dozens of new cases among teenagers, shutting down the affected schools.
The WHO's annual, five-day meeting begins Monday in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan is expected to reveal experts' recommendations on the production of a swine flu vaccine. Decisions have to be made on the production, and distribution of the vaccine, in addition to who will get it. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit WHO Tuesday and meet with senior vaccine industry representatives.
The virus has sickened at least 8,480 people in 39 countries and killed 75, most of them in Mexico.