1,000 Students At Virginia High School Out Sick With ‘Flu-Like’ Symptoms

A high school in Virginia canceled all of its extracurricular activities this weekend after around 1,000 students called out sick over the past week. Officials said that roughly half of the 2,100 students at Stafford High School in Fredericksburg were absent with flu-like symptoms.

“Due to the high number of student and staff illnesses reported this week, all Stafford High School activities and athletics scheduled through Sunday, October 23, are canceled. We will reassess conditions on Monday and provide you with further information,” the high school wrote on Facebook.

The school said it is working with the health department to determine why so many students suddenly called out sick.

“There are approximately 1,000 students absent with flu-like/gastrointestinal symptoms at Stafford High School. Our Health Services team is working with the local health department to identify the root cause of the illness,” Sandra K. Osborn, chief communications officer with Stafford County Public Schools, said in a statement.

Health officials are concerned that early trends are a warning of a rough flu season ahead.

“Here we are in the middle of October – not the middle of November – we’re already seeing scattered influenza cases, even hospitalized influenza cases, around the country,” Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told CNN. “So we know that this virus is now spreading out in the community already. It’s gathering speed already. It looks to me to be about a month early.”

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