2,000 students at Washington State University report swine flu symptoms (Update)

Sep 06, 2009

Some 2,000 students at Washington State University have reported symptoms of swine flu, university officials said, in one of the largest reported outbreaks of the virus on a US college campus.

Washington state's Whitman County, where the school is located said that tests at a state laboratory late last week "confirmed that the influenza outbreak at Washington State University (WSU)... is indeed caused by the novel 2009 H1N1 Influenza A."

The west-coast school last week instituted a blog to help provide information to students about the sudden and dramatic spread of the A(H1N1) virus on campus just days into the new school term.

"We estimate that we have been in contact with about 2,000 students with influenza-like illness in the first 10 days of our fall semester," the latest online posting said.

"At this time of year, we would typically only see a handful of patients with influenza-like illness. Health care providers in the local community have also seen WSU students with influenza-like illness, but we have no way of knowing how many.

"We also have no way of estimating how many students are self-caring at home without contacting us," school officials said.

University officials said they had been asked by the county health department "to track numbers in this way to give us a better idea of how many students at WSU actually have influenza-like illness."

The university of about 19,000 students added that it is following guidelines issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in advising students how to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

CDC's director Thomas Frieden told CNN television Sunday that health officials are reporting an "unusual" number of cases so far this school year.

"What we do know is that with schools back in session, particularly in the southeast of the US, but also in many parts of the country, we're seeing a fair amount of influenza. And that's very unusual for this time of the year," he said.

"This is really something we haven't seen before. It's very unusual to see flu continue to occur over the summer. It's very unusual to see it start to increase this rapidly in August and September."

Frieden said efforts to contain the virus may be hampered by layoffs and furloughs of public health workers during the current economic crisis, as well as the inherent unpredictability of any infectious malady.

is "the one that we're most concerned about," Frieden said.

"Because if it does become more deadly, it could cause a very severe scenario. It could cause lots of problems for health for people going to school and learning, going to work and earning."

WSU, meanwhile, said it has begun handing out flu self-care kits to .

"Two hundred of these kits have already been distributed with 1,000 more in process," university officials said, adding that none of the cases of swine flu so far has required hospitalization.

"The overwhelming majority of our patients have had mild symptoms and are usually better in three to five days," the university said.

None of the WSU cases have been fatal. There have been 593 swine flu-related deaths in the United States, however, second only to Brazil which has recorded 657 deaths.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 13

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JerryPark
2.3 / 5 (9) Sep 06, 2009
And how do they know that this influenza is composed solely of H1N1?

They don't, of course. They must call it swine flu to continue to promote the over reaction to swine flu.
Snake
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 06, 2009
Ragweed causes most late summer and fall allergies, which result in a lot of sneezing and hence potential headaches.
hooloovoo
3 / 5 (5) Sep 06, 2009
How many are using it as an excuse to skip school?

How many are paranoid because they got the sniffles?

How many actually have this virus? I assume that far from all of them have actually had viral tests performed.



And OF COURSE more people have it than would generally get flu (even though I've no doubt the numbers here are MASSIVELY overestimated), it's a new bloody strain, so no one is immune yet.



The media frenzy around this virus is ridiculous. "But it kills people!!" Not healthy people it doesn't; it may kill people who are already weakened, but guess what, so does REGULAR flu.
Soylent
3.8 / 5 (4) Sep 06, 2009
Not healthy people it doesn't[...]


Swine flu kills mostly healthy people. The very young and very old have been the least affected.

Death by age group: http://www.cdc.go...a.htm#12

CreepyD
not rated yet Sep 07, 2009
Lets face it, anyone who gets the flu right now (or any number of other illnesses) is going to assume it's Swine Flu.
snwboardn
not rated yet Sep 07, 2009
Swine flu will be on the front of the headlines as long as the White House is trying to pass Health Care Reform.
Nan2
5 / 5 (1) Sep 07, 2009
H1N1 is supplanting other common seasonal viruses. This is documented not only in the US but also prevalent in the Southern Hemisphere and documented by the WHO and CDC with lab confirmed cases.

It is viewed as hyperbole as its been a very long time since there has been a viral epidemic. H1N1 is behaving like previous epidemics in supplanting other viruses, causing serious illness and deaths in statically out of normal groups for flu deaths in otherwise healthy individuals. It isn't known why some individuals experience mild to moderate illness while a percentage of those infected require hospitalization from life-threatening illness. In these individuals the virus directly infects the lungs rather than respiratory illness as a secondary to a viral infection as in other flu viruses.

Therefore, there is a good reason to assume flu-like illness is H1N1 since other viruses are being supplanted by it. Resources for confirming and analyzing the virus are rightly being concentrated on those hospitalized with serious illness.
david_42
5 / 5 (1) Sep 07, 2009
People might try reading the second paragraph before snarking. "tests at a state laboratory late last week confirmed that the influenza outbreak"
JerryPark
not rated yet Sep 07, 2009
Do you really think they tested 2000 students?

Doubtless, the lab did find some swine flu in the population of sick students.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2009
Do you really think they tested 2000 students?


The article doesn't claim that. It says SYMPTOMS.

It also says some people DO have the disease.
confirmed that the influenza outbreak at Washington State University (WSU)... is indeed caused by the novel 2009 H1N1 Influenza A.


So some students have been tested.

Which is not the same as a claim that 2000 students have it. However considering the rate that students get the flu of some kind each year it is reasonable to suppose that 2000 students will be only a fraction of those that actually do get it before the flu season is finished this year.

My bet is that at this point, of the 2000, most are just being paranoid. Either that or this thing is REEALY nasty.

Now around Christmas time.

Ethelred

Death to short posts. Tell Physorg what you think.
Hry b4 al psts luk lik ts
JerryPark
not rated yet Sep 10, 2009
Ethelred,

It does say 2000 students had symptoms of swine flu :
"Some 2,000 students at Washington State University have reported symptoms of swine flu, university officials said, in one of the largest reported outbreaks of the virus on a US college campus."

I suspect 2000 students reported that they were sick with cold/flu like symptoms. Since H1N1 is just an influenza (and a mild one), there is no way anyone can know that they have H1N1 versus some other influenza (or common cold) without testing for the presence of H1N1.

The article is just another of thousands promoting foolish over reaction to a common influenza.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2009
It does say 2000 students had symptoms of swine flu :

Yes. That is what I pointed out.
The article is just another of thousands promoting foolish over reaction to a common influenza.

I think you read that into it. It did say SYMPTOMS. Generally it looked reasonable to me.

Hopefully it won't be much worse than a normal flu season. However it does look to be nastier than normal. Not in the number of people getting it but in the number of people that have died that came down with it.

I doubt that it will be anywhere near as bad as the 1917 flu epidemic. For one thing we know about it NOW not after people started dying like flies in the tenements of New York.

Humans overreact to things they can't control. We underreact to things they think they can control. Fear of flying vs driving for instance. This is what is going on here.

See my sig for more evidence in support of this.

Ethelred

Death to short posts. Tell Physorg what you think.
Hry b4 al psts luk lik ts
Brambey
5 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2009
You guys need to check your reading comprehension. It is not normal for seasonal flu to be seen rampaging through a population at this time of year. The tests confirmed that H1N1 Influenza was found in the population and regardless of "whether everyone was tested" it is safe to assume due to the abnormal behavior of this flu that it is indeed H1N1 spreading through the campus.

This flu is different than those we've seen in the past. It tends to kill people who are otherwise healthy... especially children and young adults who are also at great risk of catching the virus in school settings.

College campuses could become incredible breeding grounds for the virus as sick students don't want to miss class- can spread the virus to hundreds of people in their various classes... lectures of hundreds of people... who are all at great risk for this particular virus.

Not to mention college students often live together in dorms.

This is why it'll be important to get people vaccinated.

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