A participant of a summer camp on Tech's campus has been confirmed by Schiffert Health Center to have a case of H1N1 influenza, according to an e-mail to on-campus students from Housing and Dining Services.
The H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu, recently hit pandemic status in early June, which means there is no natural immunity in the human body and it can travel quickly around the world.
According to the Center for Disease Control Web site, the pandemic status only reflects the spread of the virus to over 70 countries and not its severity.
Housing's e-mail, sent by Associate Director for Occupancy Management Kenneth Belcher, clarified that the CDC has downgraded H1N1 to a "normal flu classification.""I think it's important to recognize that a designation is in effect," said Robert Parker, Virginia Department of Health spokesman.
Tech's Housing Department has enacted its exposure control plan, said Belcher.
"All housekeeping personnel are properly trained in procedures for sanitizing to reduce transmission of contagious viruses," he said in the e-mail.
As of July 8, the VDH announced 300 confirmed and probable swine flu cases and Virginia is classified as a state in which the virus is "widespread," according to the CDC.
The New River district has two cases, including the one at Tech. The Fairfax health district has the most cases with 64.
The CDC reported 190 cases in Virginia as of July 2. Parker said the jump in cases could have to do with a large batch of test results reported at the same time.
Extra precautions are being made for those most susceptible and at-risk, especially pregnant women showing symptoms.
On July 2, the VDH reported the second death attributed to swine flu in Virginia, a male resident of Arlington County.
"Viruses by their nature mutate," Parker said. "While it's been fairly mild thus far it won't necessarily remain that way."
So far the CDC reports 170 swine flu-related deaths in the United States, compared to its normal estimate of 36,000 annual flu-related U.S. deaths each year.
The Virginia Tech-Carilion Research Institute recently received a $30,000 grant for research on the variations of swine flu in humans. This research is a collaboration among Tech, the Virginia Tech-Carilion Research Institute and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Symptoms to be aware of include a fever of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, and severe or persistent vomiting are all indications for emergency medical care.