At least three cases of flu reported at OSU
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
8/11/09 at 5:17 PM
At least three young women on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater came down with the flu last week, prompting officials to hasten their plans for combatting the virus this fall.
Steve Rogers, director of University Health Services, said the cases did not meet the criteria to ask for a diagnosis from the state department of health, so the university does not know whether the women had the seasonal flu or H1N1, commonly known as swine flu.
They were participating in a sorority recruitment program last week before fall classes begin Monday.
Their symptoms were relatively mild, and they were treated and sent home, Rogers said.
“Even though the girls were ill, it wasn’t as bad of flu as we’ve seen before,” he said.
Campus staff have been undergoing training this summer to prepare for a potential H1N1 outbreak at the campus as fall classes get under way. Plans to deal with the situation have been developed in line with guidelines from the state and the national Centers for Disease Control, Rogers said.
Starting Wednesday, about 1,400 incoming freshmen will be moving into their dorms and participating in a three-day orientation program on campus. Other students will move in this weekend as fall classes in Stillwater begin next week.
Residence hall advisers and staff throughout the university have been training for how to identify and respond to swine flu symptoms. Those who show signs of the flu can be treated at the campus health center. They will then be told to isolate themselves by going home or staying in their rooms at least until the fever breaks, Rogers said.
“We certainly weren’t expecting it this soon,” he said.
Residence hall and university dining staff have met and discussed how sick students can be cared for while under isolation if they cannot go home, said Matt Brown, director of residential life.
Most students have private rooms, and temporary space in another residence hall is available as well, he said.
Officials will keep track of where sick students live, and will track whether the virus is spreading in certain residence buildings on campus, Brown said.
Rogers said posters, e-mails and other announcements reminding people to wash their hands and take other common sense precautions against the flu will be prominently featured on campus through the fall.
University of Tulsa spokesman David Hamby said orientation for TU will be next week and classes start Aug. 24, meaning few students are on that campus.