A Detroit school will remain closed until Monday after dozens of students began experiencing flu-like symptoms and a kindergartner died of flu-like symptoms, the Detroit Public Schools Community District told ABC News.
An elementary student at Marcus Garvey Academy who was sent home last week after experiencing flu-like symptoms later died on April 25, Chrystal Wilson, the assistant superintendent of communications at the Detroit Public Schools Community District, told ABC News. The child who died was 6 years old, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The following Monday, a number of students at the school began showing flu-like symptoms, including fever and vomiting, and the school advised that those students be sent home.
School and district officials then alerted the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Detroit Health Department that students were experiencing symptoms of an illness. Health officials advised that they were unsure what the symptoms could be attributed to, Wilson said.
By Tuesday, there were less than 25 students experiencing symptoms so health officials advised that the school be closed and a deep cleaning be conducted, Wilson said.
While students were advised to visit their physicians for a diagnosis, health officials believe the illnesses may be related to the H flu, or H. influenzae — a bacteria that can cause a variety of infections in infants and young children, Wilson said.
In 1892 a prominent German bacteriologist named Richard Pfeiffer made a mistake—one that would have an enormous impact on the pandemic of 1918 and the next century of medicine.
In the late 19th century scientists had begun to draw connections between microorganisms and human illnesses. But no one had convincingly linked a specific pathogen to influenza, which back then was essentially a catchall term for a suite of infectious respiratory symptoms that had swept through populations for millennia.
To solve the mystery, Pfeiffer was examining sputum from 31 patients who had died in the flu pandemic of 1889-90, which killed about a million people worldwide. That’s when he discovered a new type of bacterium. “The influenza bacilli appear as tiny little rodlets,” he reported in the British Medical Journal in January 1892, and he found them exclusively in pandemic victims. “In view of these results, I consider myself justified in pronouncing the bacilli just described to be the exciting causes of influenza.”
He named the bacterium Bacillus influenzae, but it quickly became known known as Pfeiffer’s bacillus. After all, Pfeiffer was chief of the Scientific Section of the Berlin Institute for Infectious Diseases and a protégé of Robert Koch, a microbiology pioneer. His stature was such that people readily believed him. This was still the case 26 years later, in 1918, when people began dying at alarming rates from an infectious respiratory disease.
Enhanced protection against a lethal influenza virus challenge by immunization with both hemagglutinin- and neuraminidase-expressing DNAs- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10067670/
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