Flu spreading among Wimbledon staff

Updated: July 1, 2009, 9:42 AM ET
Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England -- Flu-like symptoms are spreading among Wimbledon staff, although organizers said no personnel have been diagnosed with swine flu.

All England Club spokesman Johnny Perkins said Wednesday that 28 staffers have been asked to stay home -- up from four on Monday. However, he said that's out of 6,000 staffers working at Wimbledon during the championships, meaning the number of cases was not abnormally high.

None of the 28 has been diagnosed with swine flu, he said.

"We'd keep you informed ... if there was any escalation above the normal sort of what you'd expect, but it would appear there isn't," Perkins said.

British newspaper Daily Mail reported Wednesday that three doubles players at the tournament had caught swine flu, but Perkins said organizers wouldn't comment.

"We can't, because we wouldn't necessarily know," Perkins said. "It's confidential between them and their medical staff."

Organizers sent out a statement Monday asking all visitors to use good hygiene at the tournament and to stay home if they developed any symptoms of illness. Perkins said there had been no other precautions put in place to curb the outbreak.

"It's the same that it's always been. The precautions are in place beforehand, following any sort of government guidelines over here or anywhere around the world," he said.

Sarah Hames, an All England Club spokeswoman, said three of the four ball boys and girls who first reported flu-like symptoms have returned to work.

"Once they're free of symptoms for 24 hours they are allowed to come back to work," Hames said. "And they haven't just come back to sit and watch, they're back working. ... Washing hands is pretty much the singularly most important thing, and we obviously push that when it comes to the ball boys and girls, and that's why it hasn't escalated."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press