10 students identified with swine flu

The 10 students reported Monday afternoon to be infected with H1N1 virus, more commonly known as swine flu, will not be quarantined but will be advised to avoid contact with other students, a university official said Monday.

“It’s self-isolation, but if somebody walks out of their room, we’re not going to put them in jail,” said Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs.

Mills wrote in a campuswide e-mail that university officials are working closely with local health department officials and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to determine the best response to ensure the health and safety of faculty, staff and students.

“All the cases appear to be mild and all are being treated with Tamiflu,” Mills wrote.

The CDC no longer recommends that cases of H1N1 be quarantined, according to the CDC Web site, but students should avoid contact with the general campus population and not attend classes until they are without a fever for 24 hours.

Absences will not be excused by the university and class work will have to be made up, Mills said.

Vanassa Joseph, public information officer for Tarrant County Public Health, said the health department had not yet been alerted of the cases at the university as of 4:55 p.m. Monday.

“Back in April we were collecting all of the individual data,” Joseph said. “We are still monitoring it, and we are still tracking it; however, we won’t have individual numbers that we were counting the way we were in April.”

Mills said TCPH instructed university officials not to inform the department unless a case of H1N1 resulted in hospitalization, which is why he said the cases were not reported.

TCPH could not produce a number of H1N1 cases in Tarrant County or in the state. The Texas Department of State Health Services discontinued reporting novel H1N1 flu cases as of Aug. 1

According to an Aug. 20 press release by the U.S Department of Education, the CDC issued guidelines for colleges and universities regarding H1N1 because the virus appeared to spread quickly among younger Americans. The guidelines suggested good personal hygiene and the self-isolation of sick people as quickly as possible.

Mills said the cases of H1N1 were discovered Monday morning and the infected students were notified before the campuswide e-mail was sent.

“I think this is going to be a problem all across the country for a few weeks,” Mills said. “It is highly contagious because people don’t have an immunity yet, but as people start to build up an immunity and as people start to take great care in personal hygiene, it will slow it down and it will stop.”

According to the Brown-Lupton Health Center’s Web site, students are advised to call campus police for after-hours emergencies. The TCU police did not have any newly reported cases of H1N1 as of Monday night.

Video courtesy of TCU News Now

For more information on H1N1, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/