Flu fears keep Serbia's schools closed

BELGRADE, Jan 20, 2000 -- (Reuters) Serbia will extend school winter holidays by a week because of fears of a new wave of flu, Belgrade media said on Wednesday.

Schools were scheduled to reopen on January 24, but after Health Ministry reports that the number of infected children was rising the government decided to keep them closed until January 31.

A government statement published in the newspaper Politika said the overall number of flu victims was falling but the number of infected children was still on the rise.

The Serbian Health Protection Institute has said the total number of influenza cases reached 183,528 or 2,346 per 100,000 inhabitants. Nearly 10 percent of the patients were school children.

Epidemiologists fear that 10 times more or nearly two million people were actually infected. The government officially declared a flu epidemic on January 4.

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