ORONO, Maine — A University of Maine student diagnosed with H1N1 influenza is “doing just fine” and recovering at home, according to the medical director of the on-campus Cutler Health Center.
Although the unidentified student represents the only reported case at UMaine, Dr. Glenn Rampe said Friday that the student probably represents “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to H1N1 cases in the area.
Testing and pharmaceutical treatment is reserved for people with underlying health issues who are most at risk of serious complications, Rampe said, but many others with generic flu symptoms — fever, respiratory congestion, aches and pains — are typically told to go home, rest and drink fluids until they feel better.
Rampe said that when a patient at the health center appears ill with flu symptoms, the patient and any medical staff involved wear a paper face mask to help prevent germ transmission. Those patients are asked to leave the clinic through a rear entrance to decrease interaction with others in the waiting area, he said.
As long as H1N1 cases remain relatively mild, Rampe said, no other special precautions are needed.
Joe Carr, director of university relations, said Friday that the one student whose case was announced Thursday is the only member of the University of Maine community known to be diagnosed with the swine flu virus.
The student had not been on campus since the spring term ended in May, except recently to seek treatment at the Health Center, Carr said. Electronic notifications about the case have been posted on the university Web site and the First Class internal communications system.
Carr said a special group of university officials has been meeting at least weekly since late April, when public health officials first raised concern about the emerging virus. The group, working with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has been planning for early detection and response to any swine flu cases that may emerge on campus, he said.
With sports camps, music camps and other youth groups using the Orono campus during warm weather, along with summer students, Carr noted, there is plenty of reason to stay on the alert for H1N1 flu.
The group will continue to meet when classes resume in the fall, he said.