Swine Flu Outbreak Affecting Colleges

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
April 30, 2009

Several suspected cases of swine flu were reported in campuses around the country, and institutions of higher learning canceled programs in Mexico as a result of the outbreak.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a confirmed case of swine flu at the University of Notre Dame became Indiana's first case of the virus. The student has recovered completely, and Dr. Rebecca Moskwiniski, the school's medical director of student health, urged everyone to remain calm.

"We're concerned," she told ABC 7 News. "We're taking this seriously. But there's no cause for panic. We're not closing down the university."

The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed report that other possible cases were reported at California State University in Long Beach, San Diego State University and ten probable cases at the University of Delaware. Officials in Delaware have not yet conclusively determined how students were exposed, but at least one student with a probable case of the virus traveled to Mexico on spring break.

Many colleges have been issuing alerts about the situation, particularly schools located close to Mexico. The University of Texas at Brownsville-Texas Southmost College, which is directly on the Mexican border, reported no outbreaks but has forbidden all employee trips to Mexico unless determined essential by a division vice president. Likewise, the San Diego Community College District announced that it would be giving out information and hand sanitizers.

The International Association of Emergency Managers has created a Google Map that includes all higher education swine flu cases in the United States.

Meanwhile, universities and universities scrambled to cancel study abroad programs in Mexico. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the University of Minnesota canceled programs scheduled to take place in Mexico this May, and advised students now in Mexico to return to the United States. The University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire called off its summer program in Mexico slated to begin late next month. Butler University suspended a Spanish-immersion program in Mexico that was also supposed to begin in May. Pennsylvania State University in Altoona likewise canceled a program to two Mexican cities which was scheduled to begin in less than two weeks.

Inside Higher Ed lists several more schools that announced cancellations of programs in Mexico: Indiana University, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University and Dartmouth College.

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