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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Campus Health no longer testing for swine flu

The UA is no longer testing students for the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, UA Campus Health Services officials said Tuesday.

Terri West, an administrative assistant at Campus Health, said that though students are coming in daily with flu symptoms, Campus Health Services is no longer sending in tests for swine flu. Since there has already been a confirmed case on campus, they are simply treating each patient for their flu symptoms, she said.

Campus Health officials had been testing symptomatic students for the H1N1 virus so they would know when swine flu had appeared on campus, West said. Once the UA’s first case was confirmed, however, health officials knew it would spread and that it would be a waste of time and resources to continue tracking the virus.

The actual number of cases is meaningless at this point because Campus Health cannot test every flu case to see whether or not it is swine flu, said Dr. Michelle McDonald, chief medical officer for the Pima County Health Department.

Dr. Fred Miller, chief medical director of the Pima County Health Department added the spread of H1N1 will get worse before it gets better.

People experiencing flu symptoms are advised to go to their primary care physician before seeking emergency treatment.

The health department is stressing prevention and enlisted the help of the media on Tuesday, asking members of the local press what they could do to get the word out to people about swine flu and how to prevent the spread of the virus.

Now that flu season is rapidly approaching, officials want people to be more careful about washing hands, staying away from sick people and staying home when they are sick.

When looking at the effect that swine flu has on the community, many things besides the number of cases are taken into consideration, including drug sales, school absences and employee sick days, McDonald said. 

People also need to be prepared to handle a high volume of employees calling in sick to work during flu season, said Daniels.

Daniels said information about prevention changes daily, and therefore it is difficult to keep the public informed.

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