Paul Aruho & Otushabire Tibyangye Bushenyi The outbreak of the Influenza A H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as swine flu, at Kitabi Seminary in Bushenyi District over the weekend has left parents and local authorities with a dilemma on whether to stick to medical precautionary measures or follow their parental instincts. When news of the swine flu outbreak first broke in the region over the weekend, parents rushed to the school to ascertain the health status of their children with, in some cases, the hope that they could return the children home. About eight students have tested positive for the influenza and another 180 isolated. FIGHTING THE FLU: A student gets treatment from a health official. Eight students have tested positive for Swine Flu.PHOTO BY OTUSHABIRE TIBYANGYE The dilemma for most of the parents and the authorities though is that swine flu is a highly contagious disease which has so far claimed more than 3,000 lives worldwide and was declared a global epidemic in June by the World Health Organisation (WHO) after spreading to all seven continents within weeks of the first case being confirmed in Mexico. The Bushenyi District administration eventually decided to bar all parents from visiting their children or withdrawing them from the school, despite resistance from the parents. The District Chairperson, Mr Ishanga Ndyanabo, told Daily Monitor yesterday that letting the children to return home would only increase the risk of even more people getting infected. I call upon parents not to pick children from boarding schools. This means if a child comes home sick he/she could infect the whole family and it will be hard to control, Mr Ndyanabo said. Speaking on a Monday radio talk show to sensitise the people about the outbreak of influenza H1N1, Mr Ndyanabo said in case of any outbreak in any other school in the district, administrators should report to the district health officials so that the students are treated within the school premises. He said the district has received a consignment of assorted drugs to help treat the already infected. The District Health Officer, Dr Celestine Barigye, has summoned all officials in charge of Health Centre IVs to the district council hall today for a meeting in which they will undergo training on how to attend to swine flu cases. Dr Barigye urged the farmers not to kill or sell off their pigs cheaply because the H1N1 is not spread by the pigs. By Monday, the Health Ministry had dispatched a team of experts from its headquarters in Kampala and the WHO Country office to help medical personnel in the area contain the disease. Laboratory and treatment centres have also been set up at the Kitabi Seminary for treating patients and investigate any further cases.