Stafford County, Virginia: Nearly half of students at a Virginia high school are absent with flu-like symptoms, district says


As U.S. health officials grow increasingly concerned about the impact of this year’s flu season, nearly half the students at a Virginia high school were absent with flu-like and gastrointestinal symptoms this week, according to the school district.

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

Stafford High School, located in northern Virginia in the city of Fredericksburg, has an approximate enrollment of 2,100 students, Osborn said.

School activities scheduled through the weekend have been postponed, according to an announcement on the Stafford High School website.

“Due to the high number of student and staff illnesses reported this week, all Stafford High School activities and athletics scheduled for Sunday, October 23rd have been canceled. We will reassess the situation on Monday and provide you with additional information,” it read the message.

CNN has reached out to Stafford County Public Schools and the county health department for additional information.

An early spike in seasonal flu activity has been reported across most of the United States, with the nation’s Southeast and South-Central regions reporting the highest levels of flu last week, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

School districts elsewhere in the United States have also reported an increase in flu-like symptoms among students. At least two high schools in the San Diego Unified School District had high absenteeism last week, with one school recording about 1,000 absences out of 2,600 students, a school spokesman told CNN.

Influenza activity in the United States often begins to increase in October and usually peaks between December and February.

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