Swine Flu Gains Admission To Colleges
LIANE HANSEN, host:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.
Flu season has arrived at some colleges and universities even before classes have begun. Symptoms are spreading in at least two schools in the South and 2,000 students are reported sick at Washington State University.
NPR's Larry Abramson has more.
LARRY ABRAMSON: The American College Health Association says that on average, nine students are reporting flu-like symptoms for every 10,000 students in college. But in Georgia, the rate is nearly 10 times as high. Michael Huey is health director at Emory University, which already has 250 cases.
Dr. MICHAEL HUEY (Health Director, Emory University): I think it's much faster than we expected. We didn't anticipate that we would had to ramp up our efforts before classes even began.
ABRAMSON: Huey says Emory is following health guidelines, urging students who can, to stay at home till they are free of fever for 24 hours. Those who can't are being sent to a special dorm for sick students.
Dr. HUEY: Most of our freshmen and sophomores are not from Atlanta or even from Georgia and this gives them a place that they can self-isolate.
ABRAMSON: Emory is counting on this isolation tactic to keep the flu under control and has not canceled any classes or public events. In neighboring Alabama, Stillman College canceled its scheduled Saturday football game against Clark Atlanta University because many players had symptoms typical of the flu.
The biggest concentration of cases so far: Washington State University, where 2,000 students may be sick. The good news, according to health officials like Dr. James Turner of the University of Virginia, is the bigger flu outbreaks remain localized in a few states.
Dr. JAMES TURNER (University of Virginia): About 45 percent of the schools are reporting no cases. So, there still are a number of schools, particularly the Midwest, Northeast and the Southwest, that aren't really reporting much activity right now.
ABRAMSON: And Turner notes, symptoms on college campuses remain mild with only a handful of hospitalizations nationwide and no deaths.
Larry Abramson, NPR News, Washington.
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