Rapid testing by the Hammond Health Center has confirmed 30 cases of Influenza A, better known as the flu, on the Ithaca College campus this week.
The H1N1 virus, often referred to as swine flu, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus. The rapid test samples were sent to the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center in Albany, N.Y., to determine whether or not they test positive for the H1N1 strain, according to Dr. Vivian Lorenzo, assistant director of the Hammond Health Center.
“We cannot confirm at this point that our cases are H1N1,” Lorenzo said.
The H1N1 strain has been circulating nationwide since 2009. The vaccine for this season was created to protect against H1N1 in addition to other strains. Most people who get swine flu experience typical flu-related symptoms. However, H1N1 can be severe and develop into pneumonia and can possibly be fatal.
“We do know from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that H1N1 is circulating,” Lorenzo said. “And, we have influenza A, which could be H1N1. But, we can’t put that final piece together until we get our subtyping results back.”
Lorenzo said she expects preliminary test results to be available within a few days. The state health department will also run a viral culture, which typically takes a couple weeks, to confirm the results.
The Hammond Health Center is holding a flu vaccine clinic Thursday afternoon, beginning at 2 p.m. Vaccines, which include the H1N1 strain, are free to students. The human resources department covers the cost for faculty and staff members.
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