No Swine Flu at Mason

Update 2:35 pm May 28.

According to George Mason University Press Secretary Dan Walsch, the reported case of Swine Flu was misdiagnosed by the staff member's physician. This means, there has never been a case of H1N1 influenza at Mason.

The Environmental Health & Safety Office has sent the following notice the evening of Wednesday, May 27:

Yesterday, George Mason University announced a case of H1N1 influenza on the Fairfax campus. Upon further investigation, we are relieved to
announce that there is no confirmed case of H1N1 influenza on any Mason
campus at this time.

Updated by Technology Manager Aram Zucker-Scharff and Director Christian Smith


By Connect2Mason Director Christian Smith

A George Mason University staff member has been diagnosed with H1N1 Influenza, also known as Swine Flu, the University Media and Public Relations office confirmed. An initial e-alert was sent by the Environmental Health and Safety Office Tuesday, May 26.

Employees working closely with the infected staff member have been notified, according to the email, and the staff member "has been absent from work since last week" and will be on leave until he has recovered.

According to the Fairfax County Health Department, they were not notified of the staff member's diagnosis because he is not a resident of the county. They said, however, that the appropriate county's health department was notified. This case is one of six in Northern Virginia and 26 in the Commonwealth.

Three cases of H1N1 Influenza have been reported in Fairfax County, one case in Loudoun and two cases in Arlington County, according to the Virginia Department of Health's website. A representative from the Fairfax County Health Department indicated that the Loudoun case, which was reported yesterday, does not fit the profile of the infected Mason staff member.

According to Fairfax County Health Department spokesman Glen Barbour, Virginia has "relaxed its rules" about reporting cases of Swine Flu. "[Swine Flu] is not as big a deal as we thought," said Barbour.

The Arlington County Public Health website states that this strain of the flu is spread through coughing, sneezing, and "contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of the infected individual." H1N1 can survive for up to two hours on surfaces and in the air. The initial symptoms are that of the seasonal flu - fever, coughing, soar throat, congestion and a runny nose - but can develop into diarrhea, vomiting, headache, chills, fatigue and respiratory failure. Those who are infected are contagious up to seven days after initial symptoms and longer if symptoms persist.

The Virginia departments of health are encouraging people to take the same precautions they would during normal flu season - wash hands frequently especially after coughing or sneezing, stay home if sick, cover mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoid coming into close contact with those who are sick, and avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose.

Updated Wednesday, May 27, 2009

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