Troy student has swine flu
Published 1:36 pm Thursday, May 7, 2009
By By Kerry Whipple Bean
A female Troy University student and another Pike County resident are the 14th and 15th probable cases of swine flu in Alabama, state health officials said.
The student, who is in her 20s, was diagnosed in Pike County and is now recovering at home, state health officer Dr. Donald Williamson said.
Pike County officials said a second woman in her 20s also was suspected of having the infection.
The state health department is recommending that health officials treat universities like small communities, because it would be difficult to shut down a college campus as K-12 schools in Madison County have after suspected cases there. Troy University did not cancel classes or close campus after the announcement.
Troy University Dean of Student Services Herb Reeves urged students to avoid final exams this week if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms. They will be allowed to take them once flu concerns pass, he said.
The university is recommending anyone with flu-like symptoms to avoid Friday’s commencement ceremony, he said.
Health officials have said the swine flu — or H1-N1 virus — does not appear to be more serious than regular seasonal flu, but they have urged continued caution to avoid the spread of infection.
Reeves said Troy University officials did not know the student’s identity because of privacy reasons, but he did confirm the student lives off campus. Reeves said the Troy student health center had been conducting flu tests in the clinic, but he did not believe any samples were sent to the state health department.
Williamson reiterated that simple tasks such as washing hands frequently and covering up coughs and sneezes can help curb the spread of the infection.
Other cases of swine flu in Alabama include four confirmed cases in Madison County, seven probable cases in Madison County — all associated with school children — one probable case in Jefferson County and one probable case in Montgomery County.
Williamson noted that only about 25 to 30 percent of the cases around the country involve someone who had been traveling or came into contact with anyone who had been traveling.
The state health department received equipment from the Centers for Disease Control Monday to test its own flu samples, Williamson said.
The Troy Messsenger contributed to this report.