According to Stanford (via the Stanford Report), yesterday Santa Clara County officials informed the University that seven (7) now eight (8) students tested “probable” for swine flu.
It appears that:
(1) These are the first reported cases of the H1N1 flu at Stanford.
(2) The students who tested positive have since either recovered from their illnesses or “are on the way to recovery.”
(3) Some were treated at Stanford Hospital; others were seen at Vaden (a scary thought unto itself).
(4) None of them needed hospitalization.
(5) No changes in the university schedule or its plans for Commencement are planned, though “the University is augmenting health precautions around upcoming events.”
(6) According to the CDC, there are essentially 3 levels of definition: confirmed, probable and suspected. These cases fall under the category of “positive for influenza A, but negative for human H1 and H3 by influenza RT_PCR” (I am guessing RT-PCR is reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction– thanks Genomics class!).
In the Stanford Report, Vaden Director Ira Friedman was quoted as saying:
Following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the county public health department, we are treating this as we would seasonal influenza [emphasis mine]. So, we recommend that students follow the precautions they were given to avoid spread. Based on the advice of county health officials, we do not believe there is need for any other action at this point. The flu has been circulating widely in the country, state and county, so these results do not surprise us.
This answer does surprise me, in light of the fact that Provost John Etchemendy wrote us all an email on 28 April saying that if there were a confirmed case on campus, “we could be required to close most of our dorms and send as many students as possible home.” I know he said confirmed and none of these are at that point, and he also qualified his statement with a firm could. However, to go from that sort of language to an almost flippant “we’re treating this like a regular ol’ flu” is a pretty big reversal. Especially since we’re talking about 7 8 cases here, not just one isolated incident.
UPDATE: As reflected throughout the post, there are now eight cases to speak of, with the University hinting that there may be more probably cases since “additional samples are awaiting test results.”
I’ll update as more information becomes available. The official Stanford flu page is here; The Stanford Daily is (supposedly) updating; nothing yet on the Mercury News breaking news but I’m sure there will be something soon; I’ll be checking the @stanford Twitter stream also.