Two WVU students confirmed with swine flu
By Jon Offredo
Two West Virginia University students were confirmed as having the first cases of swine flu on campus.
Officials confirmed the information Wednesday afternoon and urged students to take all of the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of H1N1.
Campuses nationwide have braced for the spread of the flu at the start of the Fall semester.
Dr. Jan Palmer, director of Student Health and Well WVU, said he had been expecting cases of H1N1 to appear at WVU.
“We are expecting to see many more cases,” he said. “We are trying to disseminate information as easily as possible to prevent the spread.”
One of the cases was identified Friday, the other yesterday.
Palmer said the two cases at WVU tested positive for influenza and added the state said it would be unnecessary to test for H1N1, per Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, because influenza is out of season.
One of the students lived in the dorms, the other lived off campus. Palmer couldn’t say which dorm or where the students lived. Both students were recommended to go home if convenient.
Palmer believed the student living in the dorm returned home.
WVU recommends self-isolation for students with H1N1.
“There is no way to move [students] to an isolated living situation,” Palmer said. “That’s not practical on this campus.”
University officials have worked to provide sick students with the amenities they need without going to public places like class or dining halls.
“The idea is they should stay in the room until their fever is gone for 24 hours,” Palmer said.
WVU spokesman Dan Kim said the University has had different meetings across campus to raise awareness about the flu.
“It’s just a matter of us knowing the flu is out there,” he said. “The main thing is getting the word out about how to prevent the spread of the virus.”
There have been 30 reported cases in Monongalia County, eight have been out-of-state residents, according to the latest numbers from the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health.
More than 8,800 cases of H1N1 have been reported in the United States and its’ territories. Five hundred-fifty-six have resulted in death, according to the CDC. There are few differences between H1N1 and seasonal influenza, and getting vaccinated for one does not ward off the other.
He recommended students to call Student Health, 304-293-2311, if they think they have symptoms instead of coming in directly.
Palmer expects the University to receive H1N1 vaccine from the federal government sometime by mid-October.
The University does have regular influenza vaccinations available.
Students can purchase the seasonal flu vaccine for $10 at the Student Recreation Center on Sept. 28 and Oct. 6, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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