University officials suspect more swine flu cases

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    University officials suspect there may be 25 to 30 additional cases of H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, excluding the 10 confirmed cases on campus announced Monday, the vice chancellor for student affairs said.

    Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the suspected cases have been confirmed to have type A influenza virus, but the university is no longer testing for individual cases of H1N1 and instead is treating each case of the flu as H1N1. Mills said the treatment includes the medication Tamiflu and that infected students are being advised to stay in their dorm rooms until they are without a fever for 24 hours.

    “We don’t want (infected students) to go to the cafeteria,” Mills said. “So hall directors are informed, and if a student would like food brought to them, then the hall director or resident assistant will go over to the Union and get a meal for them.”

    University officials have advised students, faculty and staff exhibiting flu-like symptoms to seek medical attention at the Brown-Lupton Health Center, a local hospital or from a private physician. Students who are ill but are not experiencing flu-like symptoms have been asked to avoid the Health Center and instead e-mail healthcenter@tcu.edu, an e-mail address monitored by Health Center staff who will respond with further instructions, according to the university’s swine flu Web page.

    “Scary” was the word some students used to describe the campus outbreak of H1N1 cases announced Monday in a campuswide e-mail.

    Alan Smith, a freshman biology major, said he contracted H1N1 earlier this year. He said the media are making it out to be more serious than it is but students should still take caution because of how easily it can spread.

    Junior strategic communication major Chelsea Darwin said she was feeling sick already and that the announcement of sick students on campus did not put her at ease.

    “It’s kind of scary to know about,” Darwin said, noting that news reports suggest it’s going to get worse as the year goes on, “so that’s kind of dangerous.”

    One student who came down with H1N1, senior theater and arts administration major Elizabeth Annunziato, said she is at her home and almost went to the hospital Monday night.

    “We have to be isolated,” Annunziato said.

    Sick students have been advised to isolate themselves, which means those students should not be within 6 feet of other people until they have been without a fever for 24 hours, Annunziato said.

    Mills said Campus Life will notify faculty about sick students, and faculty will allow those students to make up their classwork.

    The first few cases of H1N1 on campus were discovered in students who were involved in sorority rush, Mills said.

    “When you have several hundred people together over a period of four days and there’s a lot of physical contact, it would be easy to spread that way,” Mills said. “I just think that was an opportunity; I think it was going to happen whether we had sorority rush or not.”

    Mills said the first case of H1N1 on campus was diagnosed Friday at about 5 p.m., with the number of cases reaching 10 by Monday morning.

    For more information on H1N1 at TCU go to www.tcu.edu/swinefluinfo.asp.

    Staff reporter Kim Little contributed to this report.