25 May 2012

Cook Islands school reopens after flu outbreak

12:40 pm on 25 May 2012

A high incidence of the influenza virus in the Cook Islands' remote island of Pukapuka has led to a brief closure of its only school.

The Ministry of Education closed Niua School on Thursday last week, to quarantine sick students to inhibit further spread of the flu.

The school reopened on Tuesday morning.

The Chief Executive Officer of planning, policy and review at the Ministry, Gael Townsend, says the high incidence of the virus has come earlier than usual and 64 out of 159 students from the school visited the hospital with flu symptoms last week.

"I guess part of it is the fact that it is one school so children from the whole island are coming to one place. It wouldn't take very much to move from one village to another when children can take it home with them."

Gael Townsend says Pukapuka's resident doctor has conducted a health awareness campaign to prevent a repeat of the incident.