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UA stops testing for Swine Flu

The UA is no longer testing students for the H1N1 Virus, also known as swine flu, UA Campus Health Services officials said Tuesday.


Students are coming in daily with flu symptoms to Campus Health, said Terri West, an administrative assistant at Campus Health.

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She said they are no longer sending in for tests for swine flu, since there has already been a confirmed case on campus, but are simply treating each patient for their flu symptoms.


The current swine flu numbers are already meaningless in the current situation, because Campus Health cannot test every flu case to see whether it is swine flu or not, said Michelle McDonald, chief medical officer for the Pima County Health Department.


Campus Health had been testing for the H1N1 Virus so that they would be informed when the first case hit campus, West said. The spread of swine flu will get worse before it gets better, said Dr. Fred Miller, chief medical director of the Pima County Health Department.


""The flu has been very active this summer, and it's only going to get more active,"" Miller said.


The health department enlisted the help of the media on Tuesday, asking members of the local press what they could do to get the word out to people about swine flu and how to prevent it.


Now that flu season is rapidly approaching, officials want people to be more careful than ever about washing hands, staying away from sick people, and staying home when they are sick.


The health department predicts the flu will affect all ages equally, not focusing anymore on teens and young adults than older professionals, McDonald said.


McDonald said when looking at the effect swine flu has on the community, many things besides just the number of cases are taken into consideration, including drug sales, school absences and the number of people calling in sick to work.


Something else people to need to be prepared for in flu season is what will happen if a lot of people are forced to call in sick for work, said Sherry Daniels, director of the health department.


Daniels said the information about prevention changes daily, and it is hard to keep the public informed about what needs to be done. Hospitals are constantly flooded with people who are not sick, but come in because of panic.


People experiencing flu symptoms are advised to go to their regular physician first. The swine flu vaccine should become available in October, Daniels said. There is currently no information available from trials of the vaccine, and it will probably entail a two-shot process.


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