Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Report On Swine Flu (H1N1)

The following story is timely and tells the wide-reaching story about the possible effects of the new school season and Swine Flu (H1N1). The source is
In an e-mail to students Monday night, CMU officials said there have been 18 students in the last week who have contacted Student Health Services with flu-like symptoms.

University officials said they do not test for the H1N1 virus at CMU because the tests are too expensive, and it takes too long to get test results back from Centers for Disease Control. By the time the test results come back, the patient in question has already recovered from their flu symptoms, officials said.

"Students who live off campus have been asked to stay home and avoid contact with others, while students in residential housing who do not come from areas near Pittsburgh are being taken care of by staff members in Student Health Services, Housing, Dining and Student Affairs," a CMU e-mail said. "In accordance with the latest directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students will remain in isolation until they are fever-free for 24 hours after they have stopped taking fever-reducing medications."

One student told Channel 11 News that half of the people on her floor are sick. "I just got over a cold. I think it's because orientation was so overwhelming. And we shook like 1,500 people's hands," said CMU freshman Olivia Harris. "Bad idea."

Another student said he just returned from India, where they're shutting down an entire city due to the swine flu. He said he appreciates the university taking the necessary precautions.

"I think it's good informative e-mail and people should know about it," said Shashank Pradahn.

To reduce the risk of an outbreak, health officials urge students, faculty and staff who feel ill with flu-like symptoms to monitor their temperature. Those who develop a fever of 100 degrees or more should isolate themselves from others and stay out of classes, officials said. They are also urged to immediately call Student Health Services.

On Tuesday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that a massive school closing wouldn't stop the spread of the swine flu virus, saying vaccinations must be the defense against a menace that one report said could infect up to half of the population.

"What we know is that we have the virus right now traveling around the United States," Sebelius said in a nationally broadcast interview. "And having children in a learning situation is beneficial ... What we learned last spring is that shutting a school down sort of pre-emptively doesn't stop the virus from spreading."

Sebelius appeared on NBC's "Today" show one day after a special presidential advisory panel presented a grim report to the Obama White House, saying among other things that a "plausible scenario" for the United States later this year is wide-scale infections, possibly 30,000 to 90,000 deaths, mostly among young children and young adults, and perhaps as many as 300,000 sick enough to require intensive care unit treatment at hospitals.

The fall resurgence in swine flu could occur as early as September, with the beginning of the school term, and the peak infection may occur in mid-October, officials said.

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