Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Confirmed H1N1 Virus at WIU
May 11, 2009
MACOMB, IL -- A Western Illinois University student tested positive for the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, according to Mary Margaret Harris, director of Beu Health Center at Western.
Harris said the student, who resides in Thompson Hall, was examined by a Beu healthcare provider on Friday (May 8). Due to the symptoms, an H1N1 test was completed and was sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Harris added. Beu received the positive confirmation this morning. Harris stated that health authorities have determined that H1N1 is much like seasonal flu and should be treated as such. This is the first confirmed report of the virus on the Western Illinois campus.
While the student is recuperating, he will remain in isolation through Wednesday as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) H1N1 guidelines, Harris explained. According to the CDC, students, faculty or staff who live either on or off campus and who have the virus should self-isolate (i.e., stay away from others) in their residence hall room or home for seven days after the onset of illness or at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer.
Following CDC guidelines, the University will not close any of its facilities or cancel finals. For CDC recommendations for higher education institutions affected by H1N1, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/guidelines_colleges.htm.
The CDC recommends that persons with flu-like symptoms who wish to seek medical care should contact their health care provider or campus health services to report illness by telephone or other remote means before seeking care. Seasonal flu symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Reported H1N1 symptoms may also include a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Beu Health Center staff is continuing to perform routine influenza surveillance. If an individual comes to the health center with flu-like symptoms, Beu's healthcare providers will ask a series of questions as a precautionary measure to determine if the illness is perhaps related to the H1N1 virus, Harris added. WIU-Quad Cities students, faculty and staff experiencing flu-like symptoms should see their local physician or healthcare provider immediately.
According to Harris, flu viruses are spread mainly from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. To limit the spread of illnesses, including H1N1, people need to practice common sense, which includes proper handwashing after using the bathroom, before eating and after coughing or sneezing, Harris added. Use soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available), scrub and rinse for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly.
As a precautionary measure, Western's Physical Plant staff have implemented additional disinfecting measures, including thorough cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, handrails and other commonly used/shared areas, said Jackie Thompson, vice president for administrative services.
For more information regarding health issues, contact Beu Health Center at 309/298-1888 or visit Western's pandemic website at wiu.edu/pandemic.
Posted By: Darcie Shinberger, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606