Some Howard Students to Test for Swine Flu

Jessica Lewis | 5/7/2009, 12:12 a.m.

Due to the 109 reported cases of H1N1 Flu, also known as Swine Flu, in the U.S., the federal government has declared a public health emergency, prompting Howard University to request that students get tested at five facilities on campus.

Students are being tested at the Student Health Center, the Employee Health Unit within Howard University Hospital (HUH), the Emergency Department in HUH, the Tower Building and the Family Health Center located in HUH, according to a university press release.

The Student Health Center has cancelled, with plans of rescheduling, the appointments of students seeking non-essential treatment or Swine Flue tests that do not exhibit symptoms or have not been exposed to the virus.

Thus far, no Howard student has been diagnosed with the Swine Flu. Howard students who recently traveled to Mexico; been in contact with people who have recently traveled to Mexico; or are experiencing high fever, body ache, sore throat, nausea and diarrhea will receive preferential treatment in the Student Health Center and other testing sites, according to the release.

Killian Lewis, a junior majoring in public relations, traveled to Cancun, Mexico for spring break in March. She is among the travelers that the university is giving preferential treatment. However, due to her rigorous final exam schedule, Lewis has not had the opportunity to get tested, but plans to do so within the coming week.

Thus far, Lewis is not experiencing symptoms associated with the influenza and only heard of the offered testing through a friend.

Lewis said that she never thought of it as a big deal, but she is willing to get tested.

With no local residents or Howard students being diagnosed, the Howard University Student Association (HUSA) has received complaints regarding the cancellation of appointments not related to the Swine Flu.

According to Corey Briscoe, newly appointed Director for Student Advocacy of the HUSA, students attempting to have medical holds removed from their account are filing complaints about the appointment cancellations. Medical holds can prevent students from registering and viewing grades.

€Students have voiced concerns that they finally have appointments with the center, which has taken so long, and now, due to the Swine Flu the center has cancelled them,€ Briscoe said. €Students are basically upset because they don€t feel the center has merit to cancel appointments this soon.€

This testing is a precautionary procedure, according to the release.