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Colleges Move to Limit Swine Flu's Spread
Date:9/8/2009

Numbers of infections on campus already increasing rapidly; could be preview of what's to come for general population

TUESDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Erica Goldfine, a senior at American University in Washington, D.C., returned to school this semester to find a new item in her college handbook, right after academic policies on cheating: emergency preparedness procedures for the H1N1 swine flu.

It wasn't a total surprise: Goldfine had been receiving e-mails all summer on the subject.

She and other students (there are more than 9,000 of them at American University) have been told that they are to stay home if they're even a tiny bit sick. The same is expected of professors.

To compensate for any potential outbreak, the administration is offering all classes on the Web so students can "attend" from a safe distance if they do start coughing and sneezing.

Goldfine is not that concerned.

"I don't see it spiraling out of control," she said. "Plus, I think my brother, sister-in-law and I all got the swine flu when I was visiting them in China recently. It was like a pretty bad cold and we are all fine, thank God."

But with major outbreaks of H1N1 flu occurring at campuses across the United States, and one death recently reported at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, universities are putting detailed prevention and containment plans in place.

"Kids share close quarters with one another and interact personally and physically, and they're not necessarily attuned to hygiene measures that are important for any kind of disease," said Dr. Melinda Moore, senior health researcher at Rand Corp., and the mother of two college students. "Didn't your mother tell you to wash your hands anyway to prevent disease transmission, period? A pandemic makes it more important to do so because it readily spreads from person to person, and the virus will try to infect everyone in the world," she added.<
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