UPDATE, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.:  Earlier this morning Lucille DeNovio, assistant to superintendent Smith, reported that since Jan. 1, 2018–district-wide–there have been 18 instances where parents have called in an absence for their child with Influenza-like symptoms.

UPDATE, Jan. 23, 9:15 a.m.:  Wilton Health Department director Barrington Bogle confirms that his office has received seven reported Wilton cases of influenza A/B/RSV. He said that reports come directly from testing labs, rather than families, so there may be additional cases that have not been confirmed.

The Wilton Public Schools officials informed parents yesterday that they are taking precautions against the spread of flu, increasing vigilance in the district amid the CT Department of Health rating the level of flu activity in the state as “widespread.”

In a letter emailed home to parents, guardians and staff, superintendent of schools Dr. Kevin Smith acknowledged that, “activity in Connecticut has remained high during the last few weeks,” and that several measures have been put into place to reduce exposure among students, faculty and staff. Among the steps that will be taken are changing the disinfectant to a stronger type that is specifically formalized to target the spread of the influenza virus.

Changes included in Smith’s letter are:

  • Monitoring Student Absence:  The district’s nursing supervisor is monitoring student absence in each building for any significant change.
  • Disinfecting:  The district has purchased a hard surface disinfectant specifically targeted to combat the spread of the influenza virus. Custodial staff have incorporated use of this disinfectant as part of the nightly cleaning protocol.

According to the latest data from the CT Dept. of Health, there have been 338 confirmed cases of flu reported in Fairfield County since the start of flu season (Aug. 27, 2017-Jan. 13, 2018). It’s the second-highest number, behind only Hartford County, at 412 reported cases.

Concerns remain high, following the much-publicized tragic news about the flu-related death of 10-year-old New Canaan boy, Nico Mallozzi, in early January. In all 21 deaths associated with influenza have been reported in Connecticut, the majority (17) of which were of people over-65.

Smith’s letter listed “Everyday Preventative Actions” that everyone can take to help stop the spread of germs:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

In addition, the letter listed “Signs and Symptoms of the Flu* (*according the CDC),” and urged anyone experiencing signs and symptoms of the flu to seek medical attention:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

GMW has reached out to both Smith and Wilton’s health director Barrington Bogle, to find out if any there have been any reported flu cases at the schools or in town. As of press time Monday evening, Smith said there have been several absences in the district, as is typical for this time of year, but will confirm if there have been confirmed cases of the flu on Tuesday. The story will be updated as soon as we receive word from either Bogle or Smith.

correction:  The letter from Wilton Schools referred to the flu ‘bacteria;’ however, the flu is caused by the influenza virus. The article has been corrected to reflect the change.