H1N1 spike at Cal Poly weeks before vaccine released

what to do roommate

More than 100 patients were seen at the Cal Poly Health Center with flu-like symptoms Monday.

An e-mail requesting anyone suspected of having the flu not attend classes was sent the same day to all Cal Poly students. The office of the Registrar assured students that by sending an e-mail to instructors prior to classes to be missed the absence would not result in being dropped from classes.

With the increase in the student population for the beginning of fall quarter the cases of H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, have increased significantly since last Friday.

Political science Professor Mike Lather received two e-mails from students who had H1N1.

According to Dr. Martin Bragg, the director of Health and Counseling Services in the Cal Poly Health Center, the vaccine will arrive in about three weeks. It will be provided to the campus entirely through the county and both will be applying similar restrictions to who will be able to receive the vaccination. The vaccine will be free.

“We expect there will not be enough for everyone,” he said. “(There is) vaccine enough for students at high risk for flu.”

The Center for Disease Prevention and Control recommended that the vaccines should be administered in order of the most need due to the initial limited quantities. There are five priority populations who are believed to be at higher risk of contracting H1N1.

The Health Center is asking students who have the symptoms of H1N1 but do not have any other preconditions to stay home and not go to a health care provider unless additional complications arise.

Physics professor Brian Granger said the department is “strongly encouraging us to line drop students due to the budget crunch.” However, with the increase in cases on campus and the Registrar’s request the Physics Department asked their faculty to not drop students who e-mail prior to class about illness.

“As far as I am concerned, if a student is sick for two to three weeks I will work with them,” Granger said. “It is really no different than any other sickness, the students are just more strongly encouraged to stay home.”

The virus is spread mainly through droplets. These droplets come from a sneeze or cough and are left on surfaces. A desk is a very common surface at a university and a number of students rotate through a given desk everyday. According to Bragg it is more likely to be contracted from the droplets on a desk from a previous occupant than a fellow student.

College-aged students have been placed in the top five priority populations. There are many situations at a university in which students are in large groups and this presents a problem due to the contagiousness of the virus.

Bragg said students living on campus who have the flu have been asked to have someone take the student home until they have been fever free for at least 24 hours.

According to the San Luis Obispo County Health Agency, there have been 10 cases of H1N1 hospitalizations and one death in the county.

The Health Center has not tracked the total number of cases.

  • matt

    Professor Mike Lather received ‘to’ e-mails from students?

    • Megan Hassler

      Thanks for noticing that; we have fixed it online.
      —MD editors

  • Alison Hassler

    Very clear and informative article. Please keep us all updated on this situation.

  • Alison Hassler

    Very informative and clearly written. Please keep us updated on the situation.

  • Katie Kidwell

    Interesting acticle. I enjoyed reading it.

Show