DSU student tests positive for H1N1A Dickinson State University student has tested positive for H1N1 (swine) flu, but Constance Walter, director of university relations, said it’s impossible to know who the person is.
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
A Dickinson State University student has tested positive for H1N1 (swine) flu, but Constance Walter, director of university relations, said it’s impossible to know who the person is.
“I don’t believe this person will show up to class tomorrow, but if this person chooses to show up to class tomorrow, we have no way of identifying that person,” Walter said.
She said privacy laws prohibit information about the person to be released to the public, or even others at the university.
“Obviously, if somebody is infectious with anything and they are around a lot of people, there’s a potential for infection. But we really don’t have any way to police that,” Walter said. “People need to be careful, but at this time, I don’t believe there’s any reason for a panic.”
The student had been tested through the university’s health center, Walter said.
“This person who has been diagnosed is under physician’s care and has been advised also by the physician as to the measures that this person must take in order to not infect other people,” Walter said.
Walter said the student has been advised to stay home and is being treated according to protocols established by Southwest District Health Unit, the North Dakota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
“We encourage anyone who feels sick with flu-like symptoms to stay home,” Walter said.
The CDC estimates that there have been more than one million cases of H1N1 flu nationwide since April, according to a press release from DSU.
The vaccine for H1N1 flu is reportedly not available in southwest North Dakota, but is expected to arrive in mid- to late-October.
Laren Meadows, a pharmacist at The Medicine Shoppe in Dickinson, said the pharmacy has not seen a significant increase in customers trying to prepare for H1N1 flu.
“You’d want to take the precautions you would with any other flu,” Meadows said.
DSU student Chiyo Odika, from Nigeria, said the outbreak of H1N1 at DSU “is not good news.”
“I’ll have to reconsider coming to class,” he said, jokingly.
Odika said that prior to the outbreak he had already intended to get a flu shot.
“Especially since there is an outbreak on campus, I think I’ll even expedite my decision to get a flu shot,” Odika said.
DSU has established a Web site containing information to help in the prevention of seasonal flu and H1N1 flu. The site can be accessed through DSU’s home page, www.dickinsonstate.edu.
“We’ve sent out information to all of our students, faculty and staff, regarding preventive measures,” Walter said.
She said DSU Student Health Services also offers screening for students with flu-like symptoms, as well as screenings for other illnesses.
— Lisa Call contributed to this story.