September 03, 2009

First case of H1N1 influenza reported at SIUC

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Health officials at Southern Illinois University Carbondale today (Sept. 3) reported the campus’ first case of H1N1 influenza.

While Student Health Center staff has been seeing two to four patients with flu-like illnesses during each of the first two weeks of the semester, this is the first to test positive for Type A influenza on an in-house rapid flu test. Type A is indicative of the H1N1 flu strain, and public health officials have indicated that any cases of flu seen at this time of year will be considered to be H1N1, since it is too early for seasonal flu.

According to Dr. Ted Grace, director of the Student Health Center, the student does not live on campus, and does have roommates. Medical staff advised the student, who is a 20-year-old sophomore, to self-isolate in his house, which anyone who does catch H1N1 should do until at least 24 hours after a fever disappears without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

Someone who contracts the H1N1 virus may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick.

“Based on what we have been seeing on campuses around the country and in Illinois, we knew it was a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ that we would see our first case,” Grace said. “We have had plans in place for some time. While the H1N1 flu is highly infectious, it is important to remember that it is a mild to moderate strain.”

The most consistent symptom with the H1N1 virus is fever, but the abrupt onset of a runny nose, cough, sore throat, body aches, nausea and diarrhea may all occur.

Grace emphasized the importance of everyone following the “Three C’s -- Clean, Cover, Contain.”

For more information on the H1N1 flu, contact the Student Health Center at 618/453-3311 or visit