Swine Flu May Shut Down SDSU Campus

There is a chance San Diego State University could be shut down temporarily if a suspected case of swine flu is in fact the real deal.

A student went to health services Tuesday with a fever, cough and body aches and tested positive for type A influenza, according to officials.

”That is considered to be the first step in identifying whether or not they have swine flu." SDSU Spokesperson Gina Jacobs said.

So far this case has not been confirmed, but the school is working with the health department to take precautions.

If the student does in fact test positive for swine flu, the CDC recommends a seven-day shut down.  So far, officials say the County is not advising shut down – at least for now.

“The advice could change and that’s why we are in close contact with them,” SDSU President Stephen L. Weber said.  “We have to listen to the experts to guide us as to what’s in the best interest of public health.”

He says there are 35,000 students on campus and there is a plan in place in case the County advises them to shut down operations.

“We are capable of doing that and we have lots of communication techniques to do it, we shut the campus down during the wildfires last year, so we know how to do that,” Weber said.

In some cases – he says it might actually be better for students to stay in place than go elsewhere and put other people in danger. 

SDSU officials issued a mass email alerting staff and students of the “suspected" case of the swine flu.

"Everyone is just hearing the buzz about it and getting emails and people's parents are kind of freaking out," SDSU Student Lindsay Guest said.

School officials say they're cautioning students to use good health practices -- and if they feel sick -- go to student health services.

Medical Director Gregg Lichtenstein says the school did notice an increase in students being seen for respiratory  illnesses  on Monday.

“In terms of a percentage – it was roughly in the range of about a 40 percent increase, but we don’t know if any of those were people that just saw the news and got concerned, he said.

"My friend was standing in line at the "Juice It Up" and she coughed and someone beside her ducked under the railing and ran away," Guest said.

Some students are concerned people are overreacting to the outbreak.

"Everyone's scared they're going to get it and they blow it up more than it should be, but it is a problem," SDSU Student Stephen Brydon said.

Grossmont College Student Ka Chang wore a mask while she sat reading at the SDSU campus Wednesday morning.

She says she has been wearing a mask since Monday to "try to protect myself, don't get sick… because some people maybe they have flu but don't know they have it, so they just sneeze."

But Chang says the masks are not that easy to find.

"I don't have any, this is my last one and I couldn't find any because all sold," she said.

Officials say the student does not live on campus and will not be returning to class until his or her condition improves.

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