University News

New Probable Cases of H1N1 at WIU-Macomb

October 19, 2009


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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University has two new probable cases of H1N1 influenza on the Macomb campus. The first probable case was reported Oct. 14. According to Mary Margaret Harris, director of Beu Health Center, two WIU students, who reside off-campus, were diagnosed today (Oct. 19) by Beu Health Center medical staff based on the students' clinical symptoms and results of a rapid diagnostic influenza test that indicated positive for influenza Type A virus.

Harris noted that the students have been advised to return to their permanent homes until fever-free for at least 24 hours. Due to the positive results of the rapid influenza tests, a second test has been sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health per H1N1 influenza surveillance purposes, Harris added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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.

For CDC recommendations for higher education institutions affected by H1N1, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/institutions. Prevention is often the best medicine to avoid the virus, Harris stressed. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Tips to avoid the transmission of influenza include covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve, not hands; frequent handwashing; staying home when sick; and getting a flu shot.

Seasonal flu symptoms develop quickly; include fever and a sore throat and/or coughing, body aches, chills, and headache. Reported H1N1 symptoms are similar to seasonal flu and may also include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms of the common cold are generally much milder than the flu, develop more slowly, and usually do not include a fever.

"There is strong likelihood of additional cases among the campus community as this represents the first wave of probable H1N1 illness this fall. If you don't feel well, stay home and avoid contact with others," Harris stressed. "Students with a flu-like illness who live in group housing, such as a residence hall or fraternity/sorority, should return to their permanent home, if possible, to keep others from getting sick. Consistent with CDC recommendations, individuals with the flu should stay home until free of a fever for 24 hours."

Beu Health Center staff is continuing to perform routine influenza surveillance. WIU-Macomb students who feel ill should contact Beu Health Center at (309) 298-1888 prior to coming to the health center, while WIU-QC students should contact their local health care provider. Employees with flu-like symptoms should contact their local health care provider.

Students who are ill and will miss class must contact Student Development and Orientation at (309) 298-1884. Employees should contact their immediate supervisor.

Since the H1N1 outbreak during the Spring 2009 semester, Western's Physical Plant staff have implemented additional disinfecting measures, including thorough cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, handrails and other commonly used/shared areas.

Beu Health Center will be receiving the H1N1 vaccine in the near future. Clinic dates and times will be announced when the vaccine is available.

For more information about Beu's services, visit www.student.services.wiu.edu/beu. For more information related to H1N1, visit wiu.edu/pandemic.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (DR-Shinberger@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations