New York City has closed three schools in response to a swine flu outbreak that has left one staff member in critical condition and sent hundreds of kids home with flu symptoms, in a flare-up of the deadly virus that sent shock waves through the world last month.
A Health Department spokeswoman tells The Associated Press that four students and the staff member have tested positive for swine flu at a middle school in Queens. At another middle school in Queens, 241 students were absent Thursday. Dozens more were sick at an elementary school.
New York City's first known cases of swine flu appeared in late April, when hundreds of teenagers at a Roman Catholic high school in Queens began falling ill following the return of several students from vacations in Mexico, where the outbreak began. But the outbreak then seemed to subside. Additional sporadic cases continued to be diagnosed, but the symptoms were nearly all mild.