Paris: Sixty-four foreign teenagers have been quarantined at summer schools in the Paris region after testing positive for swine flu, regional authorities said on Wednesday.
"They are mostly young Spaniards, aged 15 to 18," said Henri Welschinger, an official at La Salle Saint-Nicolas Catholic school in Issy-les-Moulineaux, where 47 cases have been identified among a group staying on a language trip.
Several British and American teenagers were also part of the group, according to an official at the prefecture.
The 47 cases of A(H1N1) influenza have all been confirmed since Monday, the prefecture said. "None are in a worrying condition," Welschinger said, adding that the teens have been assigned to a single floor of the building.
"There is no reason to be worried. People behave as if it is the plague, but it is only the flu. We just need to take certain precautions," he added.
Late in the afternoon, authorities also confirmed 17 cases among a group of Italian teens staying at a language school at Rueil-Malmaison west of the capital.
"No case is particularly worrying. We have distributed masks and they are being treated with paracetamol," said Dr Juan Vinas, a local health department official.
Those affected must stay in isolation for eight days before going home, he said.
France has recorded 793 cases of A(H1N1) swine flu since the end of April, according to the public health monitoring agency, the INVS, but none has proved fatal. Nineteen patients have been hospitalised, three needing intensive care.
The French government has a pandemic strategy in place but has so far stuck to phase 5a of a six-stage alert in light of the limited presence of the virus in France compared to its European neighbours.
Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said on Wednesday the government expected to wait until September to move to Phase 6 of the pandemic plan, unless the spread of the epidemic speeds up radically in August.
More than 700 people have been killed around the globe by the A(H1N1) virus, which first surfaced in Mexico, and the World Health Organisation has warned that the pandemic is now unstoppable.
First Published: Thursday, July 23, 2009, 14:18