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State Health Roundup: Around 200 Neillsville students were home with the flu Wednesday

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Pierce County Herald
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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

NEILSVILLE - One-of-every-five public school students in Neillsville were home with the flu yesterday.

Superintendent John Gaier said about 200 youngsters either stayed home or were sent home, as school officials tried to contain an outbreak of both stomach flu and respiratory flu. Some kids brought their illnesses to school - and the Neillsville district called and e-mailed parents, urging them to keep their children at home if they show symptoms of headaches or sore throats. The same message went on the district's Web site. Officials want kids to stay home until they have no fever or other symptoms for a full 24-hours without the use of medicines like Tylenol or ibuprofen. Parents are also encouraged to arrange flu shots for their children. Gaier said cleaning crews have been working late to sterilize the building.

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WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee reports that over 1,200 people in Wisconsin have had hospital treatment for the flu in recent days. In Milwaukee County, most hospitals have diverted ambulances to other facilities because their beds-and-staffs are tied up with flu cases. Officials say the numbers of people hospitalized are double what they were a week ago. And the flu season is not expected to reach its peak for at least another couple weeks.

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Health officials say Milwaukee is the only place in Wisconsin where hospitals have so many flu cases, they're telling ambulance drivers to send their patients elsewhere. Milwaukee disease control director Paul Biedrzycki says up to eight of his county's 11 hospitals have had to divert ambulances to other facilities. The county's largest hospital, Froedtert, says 15-to-20 patients a day have gone to its emergency room with flu-like symptoms - and other illnesses are also on the rise. Biedrzycki said the spike might have been caused by holiday gatherings where elderly people were exposed to the most prevalent flu virus in at least a decade. Other places are having the same problem. Eleven hospitals in Illinois are only accepting new patients who have life-threatening conditions. And Boston's mayor has declared a public health emergency, after having 10 times as many flu cases as a year ago. Biedrzycki says he knows of no flu-related deaths in Milwaukee - but there could have been some, because autopsies are generally not performed on those who die from natural causes. He says flu shots and Tamiflu are still available, and people should get vaccinated.

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Milwaukee County has recorded its first death from a designer drug called methoxetamine - Mexxy for short. 23-year-old Douglas Peters was found dead May sixth, after he passed out during a party at the home of a D-J in Milwaukee. The county medical examiner has just now attributed the death to Mexxy. It's a powder that can be injected, swallowed, or snorted - and it's generally legal to buy-and-use since it's uncontrolled in the U-S.

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