Two students in the Union City Area School who reportedly contracted the H1N1 virus have not been confirmed by the Erie County Health Department as having the swine flu.

Still, that diagnosis seems highly likely, said Charlotte Berringer, R.N., director of community health for the Erie County Department of Health.

Since Oct. 1, the Erie County Department of Health has confirmed 265 cases of Type A influenza in the county, Berringer said.

Type A, along with Type B influenza virus causes seasonal flu epidemics every winter. Type A, however, is linked to the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu.

None of those 265 cases in the county have been confirmed as being swine flu — yet, Berringer said.

“H1N1 is a type A virus,” Berringer said. “All of those cases are highly likely of being H1N1.”

Union City Superintendent of Schools Sandra Myers said Friday that a “couple” of students who attend Union City schools had been confirmed as having contracted the H1N1.

Berringer said the Union City Area School District isn’t alone in having concerns about students being diagnosed with the H1N1 virus. Still, the health department has not officially confirmed those cases or cases in other school districts, she said.

“A number of school districts are going on the word of parents that their children have the swine flu,” Berringer said.

Berringer urges county residents to protect themselves against contracting or spreading the H1N1 virus by taking these preventive measures:

• Wash your hands often.

• Cover your mouth and nose when you cough.

• Stay home from work or school if you have flulike symptoms, which include coughing, sore throat, a temperature of more than 100 degrees, sore throat, muscle aches, chills and fatigue.

• You may return to work or school if you have been fever free for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medications.

“We can’t stress the importance of prevention enough,” Berringer said.

A third type of influenza virus, Type C, causes a mild respiratory illness and is not believed to cause epidemics.

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