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2,000 students at US university report swine flu symptoms
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SAN FRANCISCO, California (AFP) – Some 2,000 students at Washington State University have reported symptoms of swine flu, university officials said, in one of the largest reported outbreaks of the virus on a US college campus.
The west-coast school last week instituted a blog to help provide information to students about the sudden and dramatic spread of the A(H1N1) virus on campus just days into the new school term.
"We estimate that we have been in contact with about 2,000 students with influenza-like illness in the first 10 days of our fall semester," the latest online posting said.
"At this time of year, we would typically only see a handful of patients with influenza-like illness. Health care providers in the local community have also seen WSU students with influenza-like illness, but we have no way of knowing how many.
"We also have no way of estimating how many students are self-caring at home without contacting us," school officials said.
They also said they had been asked by the county health department "to track numbers in this way to give us a better idea of how many students at WSU actually have influenza-like illness."
The university of about 19,000 students added that it is following guidelines issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in advising students how to avoid catching and spreading the virus.
WSU said it has begun handing out flu self-care kits to students.
"Two hundred of these kits have already been distributed with 1,000 more in process," university officials said, adding that none of the cases of swine flu so far has required hospitalization.
"The overwhelming majority of our patients have had mild symptoms and are usually better in three to five days," the university said.
None of the WSU cases have been fatal. There have been 593 swine flu-related deaths in the United States, however, second only to Brazil which has recorded 657 deaths.