Swine flu case confirmed at UH


POSTED: Saturday, May 09, 2009

“;Get out of there, right now,”; was the text message David Loos received from a friend after word of swine flu on the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus spread.

;[Preview]  Swine Flu Detected At UH

A student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is the latest confirmed case of the H1N1 flu here in the islands.

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State officials confirmed one case of swine flu, or novel H1N1 influenza A, at the Hale Wainani dorm yesterday, bringing the state's total cases to six.

Loos, 20, a finance major, left but returned to the student health clinic later that afternoon, accompanying a friend who needed her foot checked for an unrelated cause.

“;I'm not that scared,”; he said, then joked that if he contracted swine flu, he would wear it as a badge of toughness. “;I think it would be kind of cool.”;

School officials urged the 30,000-student campus to take preparations and remain calm.

“;People should be alert but not overly alarmed,”; said university spokesman Gregg Takayama.

Takayama stressed that the student exhibited a mild form of the illness and is recovering. The student's two roommates are being tested.

State Health Department Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said the student did not travel out of state.

“;We are aggressively looking at where this individual might have gone and who the individual might have gotten the illness from,”; she said. “;Fortunately, it's exam time, so there aren't very many classes and a lot of students are pretty much gone because they finished all their classes.”;

;[Preview]  Testing Kits Arrive To Screen H1N1 Virus

With Hawaii's clearance to test for the new flu strain in state, more cases will most likely be diagnosed quicker.

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School officials are calling staff and students who may have come in contact with the ill student. They also sent an e-mail to all students advising those with flulike symptoms to call the UH health clinic.

The affected student and two roommates living at Hale Wainani's low-rise apartment buildings have been isolated in separate rooms, Takayama said. One roommate had a sore throat, while the other did not have any symptoms.

He said the student started having flulike symptoms Sunday and went to class the following two days. The student reported to the UH health clinic Wednesday.

“;The flu is in the community, so it's not a surprise that it should emerge on our campus,”; Takayama said.

Hawaii's first three cases — a child and a separate adult couple — were confirmed Tuesday. On Thursday the state confirmed two more cases involving adults on Oahu who had not traveled recently.

At UH yesterday, signs were posted around dorms warning students to cover their mouths when coughing. Janitors disinfected the affected areas at the dorm.

The university said it will continue operating normally during finals next week. If more students are infected before next Saturday's graduation, the university will follow the Department of Health's guidelines, Takayama said.


Star-Bulletin reporter B.J. Reyes contributed to this story.