Possible swine flu cases in NC; Passengers return from Mexico

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina's state health director says there may be some sporadic cases of swine flu across the state. Health officials have not indicated where those patients live.

Confirmation of the swine flu virus will not be known until Wednesday.

Already, there are confirmed cases of swine flu in New York, California, Kansas, Texas and Ohio.

Doctors are also investigating potential cases in Michigan and South Carolina.

In South Carolina, the Newberry Academy, a private school outside Columbia, was shutdown Monday when students returned from Mexico and fell ill.

"They started to get sick. I don't know if they started to get sick on the plane but when they got back they started to have what appeared to be flu-like symptoms," said Headmaster Robert Dawkins.

Mexico is where the virus originated.  Police were out in the streets of Mexico City in full riot gear.

Businesses and schools are closed.

The virus has sickened nearly 2,000 and killed at least 155 people.

A response plan is in effect at the Charlotte Douglas International airport. So far, no problems have been reported with daily flights arriving from Cancun or Mexico City. Those passengers are pre-screened in Mexico before being allowed to board any plane bound for the United States.

Dr. Stephen Keener with the Mecklenburg County Health Department says health officials are in constant contact with the airport. If someone reports symptoms during a flight, the airport would be notified to alert medic and public health officials immediately.

An airport spokesperson says all airlines with flights to Mexico are also offering flexible travel policies. The airlines are allowing customers to re-schedule within a certain time period without penalty.

Concerned travelers should contact their airline for specific information on how to proceed.