Children's doctor says what to watch for, as flu-like cases spike at Detroit school

A flu-like illness caused a Detroit school to close until next week. The closure comes after the death of a kindergartener, but it's still unclear if that's tied to the outbreak.

The Detroit Health Department sent a team to a team to evaluate what’s going on and review protocols for deep cleaning and disinfecting.

The big question is, what is this illness. We’ve tried all day to get the Detroit Health Department to give FOX 2 an update on where they are in identifying what the district calls an unusually high rate of flu-like symptoms

Last week, a kindergartner at Marcus Garvey Academy in Detroit died, a cause of death is still pending. But this week, the school district says more children have been coming down with symptoms like fever and vomiting, namely the youngest children.

"I think it is terrible, they should just keep them out till they find out what’s going on," said Reginald Jackson, a family friend of some students at Marcus Garvey. "It’s very frightening, there's nothing we can do about it but deal with it."

State and local health officials are working to monitor and trace any illness at the school.

FOX 2: "We know the Detroit Health Department is taking the lead ... and say they are assessing the apparent increase in illness, not saying what the illness is. Can we be certain what is making the kids sick?"

"Probably not," said Dr. Kelly Levasseur, ER, Children's Hospital of Michigan. "I think that we need some more time for testing to come back so that we can try to figure out exactly what is going on."

Local health officials make it clear they do not have confirmation of what’s making these kids ill. But they’re telling parents with children between the ages of 4-7 to monitor their kids for:

Abdominal pain

FOX 2: "What does that sound like to you when you look at the list of symptoms?"

"As soon as I see that list of symptoms, I think of the term flu-like illness," Levasseur said.

Levasseur, who is a pediatric emergency medicine physcian's advice is:

"Watch your kids, so if your child starts to have a high fever, they start to have some body aches, they start to become tired, that is the time to get in touch with your pediatrician. If you think that you can't get in touch with your pediatrician, or it is on the weekend or after hours, you can come into an emergency department or urgent care to have your child evaluated."

School is closed until Monday for deep cleaning and disinfecting. They are also asking for parents to monitor their children for any of the symptoms mentioned in this story.