Columbia Public Schools Mitigate Health Threat

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COLUMBIA- It's not clear yet if the Influenza B virus that caused a spike in cases in Cole County has crept north into Boone County, but many Columbia Public Schools students and employees are prepared in case it does.

"We have a grant, an anonymous donor and a wonderful relationship with the Columbia Boone County Health Department that allows us to provide vaccines, the flu vaccine, to all of our students as well as all of our employees," said Columbia Public Schools Spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark. "We feel that definitely helps mitigate the flu outbreaks some other school districts experience."

Baumstark said attendance records for Columbia Public Schools are on par with this time in previous years.

The large spike in Influenza B caused the Cole County Health Department to nearly run out of vaccines this week. A nurse at the health department said many local physicians ran out of vaccines so they sent people to the health department to get the flu shot.

Cole County Health Department nurse Jaime Young said the department ordered 100 more vaccines through overnight mail on Tuesday.

Officials from the Cole County Health Department said 300 cases of Influenza B have been reported so far this year, compared to only 28 last year.