Penn State Erie has two confirmed cases of H1N1 virus

September 22, 2009

Two students at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, have tested positive for the H1N1 virus. These two students were among four who tested positive for Type A influenza at the college's Health and Wellness Center last week. Further testing, done via a nasal swab, confirmed the flu as H1N1.

The college is awaiting test results on the remaining two students. "The lab told us to expect a delay in confirmatory results due to the overwhelming number of tests that they have received for confirmation," said Patty Pasky McMahon, nurse practitioner and coordinator of Health and Wellness Services.

As of Sept. 17, a total of seven Penn State Behrend students tested positive for Type A influenza. Three of these self-reported that other physicians diagnosed them as testing positive for Type A influenza. Confirmation of these diagnoses is not available.

No additional students have tested positive for Type A influenza.

All seven students opted to return home to recover, following recommended self-isolation guidelines.

According to Pasky McMahon, the Health and Wellness Center is seeing students who are experiencing influenza-like illness (ILI) and have tested negative for Type A as well as students who are being diagnosed with strep throat, sinus infections and bronchitis.

"We are encouraging Penn State Behrend students to come to Health and Wellness for treatment rather than self-diagnosing," she said.

Students coming to the health center with ILI symptoms are being given standard treatment recommendations that include bed rest, fluid intake and the use of over-the-counter medications to reduce pain, fever, coughs and other symptoms. Flu sufferers are being advised to isolate themselves from others until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Penn State Behrend continues to promote prevention as the number one step for students as well as faculty and staff to take to lessen the impact of seasonal and H1N1 flu.

"This includes proper hand washing and proper hygiene, wellness care including a healthy diet, exercise and adequate rest so immune systems stay strong as well as not sharing things like food and utensils with others," said Bill Gonda, director of Marketing Communication.

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Last Updated September 23, 2009