University alerts students, faculty to prepare if swine flu outbreak were to hit

Nick Walton

No cases reported in Portage County yet

In the wake of the swine flu virus, the university is taking precautionary measures in the event of an outbreak.

In an e-mail sent to Kent State faculty on Friday, Senior Associate Provost Timothy Chandler said the university is preparing for worst-case scenarios in the event of a widespread flu outbreak.

Chandler asked faculty to begin thinking about alternative and remote delivery of final projects and exams if the university is required to suspend classes and ask students to go home. Chandler reiterated the message was not meant to alarm faculty, but to explore the possibilities of a suspension.

In a separate e-mail sent to students, the university provided tips to prevent contracting the virus and stated there are no suspected cases of the virus at Kent State.

While no cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Portage County, the Ohio Department of Health has notified the county department of health of a probable case.

DuWayne Porter, Portage County Health Commissioner, said at press conference on Friday the case involves a Portage County resident who is recovering at home. Porter said the person was traveling in an area where the virus has originated and tested positive for Influenza A. Porter said the results from the test would be available on Sunday or Monday, but were not available at the time of publication.

After testing positive for Influenza A, a sample is sent to the Ohio Department of Health and, if the sample turns out positive, it is sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for conformation of swine flu.

According to the Ohio Department of Health Web site, the person is a 39-year-old female. As of yesterday, the Web site stated three confirmed cases of the virus in Ohio and three probable cases including the one in Portage County.

Contact health reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].