French holiday camp hit by H1N1 flu outbreak

MEGEVE, France (Reuters) - A group of school children from the Paris region has fallen ill with the H1N1 flu virus at an Alpine holiday camp and has been isolated at the center, a local official said on Saturday.

The virus was detected among 24 of the 35 school children and three of their five supervisors had also fallen ill at the camp near Megeve, said local official Jean-Yves Hazoume.

The parents of the children, aged between six and 16, were informed of the outbreak on Saturday.

“The ill instructors are with the sick children and the others are with the remaining children,” he said.

Doctors had been sent to the camp on Saturday and official said the children were recovering and did not require hospitalization or treatment with the Tamiflu vaccine.

The Megeve holiday camp is in the east of France near the border with Switzerland and not far from Mont Blanc mountain.

Megeve Mayor Sylviane Grosset-Janin said isolating the children at the camp has helped prevent the spread of the virus.

“All has been done to protect the village from contamination,” the mayor said.

On Friday, French authorities said there were 434 confirmed H1N1 cases in France, 383 of them in Paris. Authorities said 309 of the cases had originated abroad.

British health authorities also announced on Friday the first death from H1N1, also known as swine flu, of an otherwise healthy patient. All previous deaths from H1N1 in Britain had been of people with other serious health problems.

The World Health Organization is expected to give guidance about the need for a H1N1 influenza jab on Monday.

French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said last week France would offer a jab to everybody in the autumn but the vaccination would not be compulsory.

Experts have said that if one out of two people in France gets vaccinated, about 30 million people, the entire population would be protected.

Reporting by Caroline Girardon and Yves Clarisse; Writing by Marcel Michelson; Editing by Sophie Hares