Swine Flu Cuts the Kiss in Europe

Several French companies have also asked employees to refrain from kissing the cheeks of their fellow colleagues when arriving at work. "We've been asked to be vigilant and to refrain from kissing each other on the cheeks" Gerard Burion, who works for a telecom company in Levallois-Perret, outside Paris, told ABCNews.com. "I'm careful. I try to control myself, but often I can't and I kiss my colleagues as this is an old habit of our society" he continued. "But then we say, 'I still gave you a kiss on the cheeks but don't forget next time, we won't do it.'"

"We've also been asked to stop shaking hands. And I must admit that this is a good measure as a lot of germs are spread this way," he said.

Pierre de Surville who works for an IT consulting group in Levallois told ABCNews.com, "We've received the recommendation from the management team to no longer give the bise and it looks like it will become an obligation if the situation gets worse."

"But for now, nothing has changed for me," said de Surville.

Some are even going further. At the end of last month, the mayor of Coulaines, in western France, issued a decree that bans spitting on public streets as a way to prevent the spread of germs linked to swine flu (the H1N1 virus). The mayor even wrote to the president of the French soccer federation asking him to encourage players to no longer give the "bad example" by spitting on soccer fields.

France has so far confirmed three swine flu deaths. According to the Health Ministry, 5,000 people contracted the disease the last week of August. But health officials fear a fast progression of swine flu cases in the coming weeks. In recent days, several classrooms and schools around France have been shut after cases of swine flu emerged.

As for the United States, students returning to school this week from the Labor Day holiday were inundated with material about preventing the spread of the H1N1 flu.

Are Schools in the U.S. Prepared, or Overprepared?

About 55 million students and 7 million staff attend more than 130,000 public and private schools in the United States each day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Schools looking to stem the spread of flu have always turned to the government for guidance and with the swine flu, the CDC is distributing more advice than ever on things like the importance of washing hands and keep ill students home sick during flu season.

In more extreme outbreaks, the CDC encourages educators to "try innovative ways of separating students. These can be as simple as moving desks farther apart or canceling classes that bring together children from different classrooms."

But educators walk a fine line between imposing public health advice and encouraging children to work together.

The Glen Cove School District on New York's Long Island found itself under the media microscope this week after children told New York City area reporters that students were warned against giving or receiving high-fives or hugs this fall.

"There is no policy, there was no policy, there never was a policy -- there was simply a discussion about contact about passing along the swine flu," said Laurence W. Aronstein, superintendent of the Glen Cove School District.

Swine Flu Precautions in Church: No Kissing?

As with schools and businesses, Europeans may be taking more swine flu precautions in church than Americans are.

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