DALLAS – Scrapes and bruises aren’t all that kids are getting at summer camp this year.

Swine flu is spreading through dozens of camps across the country, forcing some to shut down, delay openings or treat campers with antiviral drugs. It’s something they haven’t had to deal with previously, as seasonal flu has usually subsided by this time of year.

“It’s kind of a wake-up call to be aware of this,” said Ann Sheets, past president of the American Camp Association. “The thing that is saddest to us is, there are kids who look forward to camp for the whole year, and then they don’t get to go.”

Swine flu, now officially known as novel H1N1 influenza, appears to be here for the summer and should last until the seasonal flu season begins in the fall, said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of the influenza division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu cases are popping up at scouting, religious and other camps across the country, including in Texas, North Carolina, New York and Georgia.

Campers and staff at Greene Family Camp near Waco, Texas, are taking Tamiflu to prevent the spread of the disease after one confirmed and four suspected swine flu cases.

And the Muscular Dystrophy Association has canceled its remaining 47 camps across the country. Flu cases have occurred among participants in previous MDA camps this year.

“We were completely shocked,” said Kathy Spann, whose son Brian was to spend his sixth year with the MDA at Camp John Marc in Bosque County, Texas. “When I read the national stuff, I certainly understand it.”

Brian, 14, said he is most disappointed for his 17-year-old friends, who would have been attending their final camp.

“One friend said she was disappointed because she would have tried harder to remember things last year,” he said.


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