Several cases of H1N1 influenza have been confirmed on the VSU campus since the beginning of the fall semester, according to Health Center officials.
“We had nine confirmed cases of swine flu in August and a few more the first part of this month,” Dr. Edwin Hiatt said. “Regular seasonal flu is not yet circulating in this area, and it usually arrives later in the fall and continues into winter,” Hiatt said. “Therefore, all flu cases that we are seeing now are Novel H1N1 influenza.”
The VSU Health Center lab can only test for type A and B influenza, and testing done for the H1N1 strain has to be sent to a state lab, according to Hiatt.
While Health officials don’t expect to see the seasonal flu until later in the fall, there is a viral respiratory illness that the health center doctors and nurses have seen a lot of lately.
This illness has symptoms similar to the flu, but tests negative for it, according to Hiatt.
“It’s a terrible thing,” Alex Merritt, sophomore, said of swine flu being on campus. “We should have free hand sanitizer on every corner, and people should have to sanitize before walking into eating areas.”
Freshman Valerie Bloodworth, didn’t seem to think the same way as Merritt.
“If I get it, I get it,” Bloodworth said. “I’ve had two types of flu; I’m pretty sure I can handle swine flu.”
The swine flu that is going around campus is a mild to moderate illness, and most recover from it in three to five days, according to Hiatt.
“The Center for Disease Control recommends that anyone with flu symptoms ‘self-isolate’ at home or their residence hall rooms until they are fever-free for 24 hours while off fever-reducing medications,” Hiatt said.
Students are taking their own precautions to help prevent getting swine flu.
“Taking multivitamins and washing your hands is the best way to prevent getting the flu,” Bloodworth said.
“For the past few days, there have been fewer cases at the Health Center, but we’ll need to wait and see if that trend holds,” Hiatt said.
According to the CDC, Georgia is one of six states reported to have a widespread H1N1 outbreak. This can be seen in other universities across the state.
As of Friday Sept. 4, the University of Georgia has 257 cases that meet the criteria for the flu, according to an article in The Red and Black, the campus newspaper.
Since late August, Georgia Southern has had 28 cases of flu, only one of which was a confirmed case of swine flu, according to an article in George-Anne Daily.
The University of West Georgia had its first confirmed case in late August, according to an article in West Georgian.