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Swine Flu has had a major impact on Philadelphia Area Schools

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What once seemed like a scenario that could never happen to one of our own has infested the Philadelphia area as the “Swine Flu” has reaped fear in the residents of Philadelphia and has put a crunch on business and has set fear throughout schools in the area.

By definition, Swine influenza is an infection by any one of several types of swine influenza virus. Swine influenza virus (SIV) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses  that is endemic in pigs. In 2009, this flu has spread to humans and was initially thought of as only occurring in individuals who worked in the poultry industry but with a recent outbreak, the disease has spread to people from all walks of life and is now affecting the health and finances of many in the Philadelphia area.

The H1N1 Virus (Also known as Influenza A) has transmitted the Swine Flu throughout the area and seventeen adults have died in Pennsylvania due to the virus, including at least eight in Philadelphia and one in Montgomery County. This disease and the fear it is bringing hit home for local residents when a 17 year-old high school student named Andres Mendez became the 19th New Jersey resident to succumb to the epidemic.

Mendez was a healthy young man who attended classes the week before he passed. The death of Mendez sent shockwaves throughout the community and fear of how far the Swine Flu may spread has begun to cause a concern at a paranormal rate.

Businesses and schools in the Philadelphia area have been put on “Red Alert” because this deadly outbreak has exploded and shows no signs of slowing down. In an attempt to combat any more tragedy, The School District of Philadelphia began its H1N1 vaccination program on Monday. Around 27,000 of the district's 160,000 students have returned signed consent forms to receive the nasal spray form of the vaccine.

What started out as a freakish and isolated incident early this year has been declared a national emergency by President Barack Obama on October 25. With so many deaths occurring in the Philadelphia area, our citizens are concerned that one of their loved ones could be the next to succumb to the virus.

With the school district taking precautions and the students and parents being willing participants to combat the Swine Flu, there is hope this carnage will end but only time will tell if residents in the Philadelphia area will feel safe to breath the air on their city streets. What we once took for granted has now been taken away and we can only hope we can breathe in peace once again.