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Engineering student is WMU's first case of H1N1 virus

May 19, 2009

KALAMAZOO--An engineering student who traveled over the semester break has been confirmed to have the 2009 North American H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.

WMU Flu Info Center

The student fell ill May 13 and stopped attending class. He went to WMU's Sindecuse Health Center to seek treatment May 15 and was tested for the virus by health center staff. The Michigan Department of Community Health confirmed his test was positive late May 18, and communicated the results immediately to the Sindecuse medical director. The confirmation brings to four, the number of H1N1 cases confirmed in Kalamazoo.

Since being treated at the health center, the student has been recovering from typical flu symptoms at home in an off-campus Kalamazoo apartment. Early May 19, WMU President John M. Dunn sent a message to members of the campus community, and WMU officials began to alert instructors and students enrolled in class with the infected student to be vigilant for any signs of flu.

Be aware of the symptoms

The symptoms of H1N1 flu virus are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Studies have shown that people may be contagious from one day before they develop symptoms to up to 7 days after they get sick.

Preparedness plan implemented

As a precautionary measure and early in the development of the current flu strain, Sindecuse Health Center implemented portions of the University's preparedness plan and took measures to ensure the center is able to screen and treat patients without fostering the spread of the flu.

  • Sindecuse Health Center has hand sanitizers and paper masks for patients who come to the center with flu symptoms.
  • Health center staff has set up a triage system to separate patients with flu symptoms from those without symptoms.
  • Sindecuse staff is prepared to perform rapid tests for influenza and will send appropriate tests to the state laboratory for confirmation.

Take reasonable precautions

Any student, staff or faculty member with flu symptoms, says Sindecuse Medical Director Lisa Marshall, should immediately isolate themselves from others and stay home. If flu symptoms become severe enough to seek treatment, they should visit Sindecuse or their family doctor.

Students, faculty and staff are being reminded of basic precautions such as hand-washing that will help prevent or slow the spread of influenza.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400