Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, April 22, 2018

Administration warns of H1N1

After some students reported cases of H1N1 flu in AU dorms, the university is preparing for the worst, as health officials expect the frequency of swine flu cases to increase significantly this fall, AU President Neil Kerwin said in a memo.

Students absent from class because of the H1N1 flu will not require a doctor’s note, Kerwin said. Staff can also donate their unused sick days to a bank for other staff members to use if they get sick or need to take care of someone who is sick.

Some students are reporting several cases of H1N1 in the residence halls, but several resident assistants have said they cannot disclose any information about swine flu cases on campus.

Blaise Corso, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and Anderson Hall resident, said he contracted H1N1 shortly after the beginning of the semester. He does not know how he got it, but self-isolated to prevent it from spreading.

Corso was sick for a few days before he went to the hospital. His symptoms included vomiting, nausea, coughing, dehydration and a fever. One night, between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., his symptoms were so bad that he took a cab to the hospital. He had a fever of 103.5 degrees and could barely move, Corso said.

After the hospital confirmed he had the H1N1 virus, he reported it to Housing and Dining and also visited the Student Health Center, where he was told that he’s not the only one on campus with the swine flu.

“I know there [are] a few cases in the school,” he said, “They wouldn’t release [much] to me — I was just one of the four or five that exists here.”

While he was sick, Corso was unable to leave his room.

“The school pretty much quarantined me to my room. They wouldn’t let me leave,” he said. “Every day the RAs would check on me, they’d ask me if I wanted anything, and they’d get me stuff.”

His friends and neighbors brought him food on a daily basis, and he had to wear a mask to go to the bathroom on his floor. His roommate moved out while Corso was contagious.

“They were going to put him in someone else’s room with a mattress, but that wasn’t sufficient enough for him, so he went to a hotel for four days,” he said.

The RAs interviewed everyone on the floor to make sure no one else was infected, Corso said. Now, Corso is no longer contagious and his roommate is back although he still has a cough.

There are other cases of the swine flu on campus, but the RAs would not provide specific information about these, according to Corso.

“I can neither confirm nor deny anything,” an RA in Letts Hall said. Several other RAs had similar statements, and some knew nothing of the situation.

Several students have come to the Student Health Center with flu-like symptoms, according to Daniel L. Bruey, director of the Student Health Center.

“The Student Health Center has seen some cases of influenza-like illnesses over the past few days,” he said. “Students are provided with recommendations to either go home to recover — if they have family in the area — and for self-isolation in their residence hall or apartment if they cannot go home.”

Students are recommended to stay healthy by taking precautionary actions, Bruey said. Students should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and wash their hands frequently. It is also important to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent the spread of germs.

AU is encouraging sick students to self-isolate until 24 hours after their fever is gone. Bruey said that these students should contact the Health Center if they do not get any better.

“We advise students to contact us if they have difficulty breathing, become dehydrated or feel that they are not getting better,” he said.

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