A 20-year-old UCSB student was diagnosed with swine flu this week, marking the first confirmed case of the virus in Santa Barbara County.
Campus officials revealed yesterday, via mass e-mail, that the student tested positive for the H1N1 virus in a state laboratory. The student first reported flu symptoms last week to Student Health Services, where he was treated and has since fully recovered. Furthermore, officials have speculated that a second student also contracted the illness, but has since been treated.
Susan Klein-Rothschild, assistant deputy director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Dept., said county health officials are closely monitoring both cases.
“This was a 20-year-old UCSB student [who] went to the Student Health Services for mild flu-like symptoms on May 20,” Klein-Rothschild said. “He is a resident of Isla Vista and has two roommates, neither of whom became ill. He was treated and is fully recovered.”
Klein-Rothschild went on to say that the second student came in to Student Health on May 21 with similar symptoms, was treated and has fully recovered.
According to county officials, the two students do not know each other and the cases are unrelated. Both cases were reported as mild.
Further information regarding the two students could not be released.
UCSB Director of Student Health Elizabeth Downing said the campus should not be alarmed, adding that the infected student did not have much exposure to the general population.
“It wasn’t necessarily a time or place where he was partying or really exposed to a lot of people at all,” Downing said. “His close contacts have no symptoms.”
Despite the incident of swine flu, campus officials said the student body is actually very healthy. There are now fewer cases of regular influenza at UCSB than in recent weeks, and according to the United States Center for Disease Control, the number of common flu cases in the country is also declining.
“If we were seeing a lot of flu cases in Student Health, then I would be a little more concerned,” Downing said. “But frankly, we saw more flu kinds of symptoms maybe two or three weeks ago than we are [seeing] now. I think these are going to be fairly isolated cases. I’m not anticipating a big problem.”
UCSB’s swine flu exposure is the second time in one month that county officials have scrambled to deal with the H1N1 virus. On May 12, officials reported a probable case of the H1N1 virus in a two-year-old girl from Santa Maria. After warning county residents about the probable case, state tests confirmed the girl did not have swine flu.
So when officials suspected UCSB students had swine flu, no warning was issued. This time, Klein-Rothschild said, the county wanted to be certain before releasing a statement.
“We felt like it would be helpful to get the confirmation … and we [now] know for sure,” she said.