An outbreak of a mysterious flu-like illness recently affected hundreds of students in Manila, forcing three private schools to close down. On October 1, 2001, dozens of students were sent home from the La Salle school in Mandaluyong province of metropolitan Manila. The students were suffering from respiratory problems, fever and stomach ache. The next day, more students reported sick. Those studying in the neighbouring schools of Poveda and St Paul's College also had similar problems. The outbreak has caused panic among parents who are already anxiously following recent media reports on possible terrorist attacks using biological weapons. Benjamin Abalos, Mandaluyong's mayor, said the local government was coordinating with health officials in Manila to get to the heart of the problem.
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