Dental School Resident Recovering from “Probable” Swine Flu
Orthodontic clinic closed through May 8
A resident at Boston University’s Goldman School of Dental Medicine has been identified by Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) authorities as having a probable case of swine flu, also known as H1N1. The resident, who is recovering, felt sick on April 28 and was tested for the swine flu virus at a Boston-area hospital. Those tests have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for a definite identification. Anita Barry, director of the BPHC’s infectious disease bureau, says 90 percent of cases that have been designated “probable” are found to be positive.
David McBride, director of Student Health Services at Boston University, says that since April 27, the beginning of the resident’s potentially contagious period, the resident is believed to have had contact with 12 patients and 15 residents.
McBride says the University has spoken to all 12 patients, and none have any symptoms of flu. The University has also reached out via e-mail and phone to the 15 residents who may have been exposed to the virus, and reached 14. McBride says one resident reports a sore throat and one has a cough.
Because both symptoms could indicate a flu infection, says McBride, the BPHC has requested that the Post-Doctoral Orthodontic Clinic where the resident worked, located on the first floor at 100 East Newton St., remain closed until May 8. The BPHC also asks that all faculty, staff, and residents who work at the Post-Doctoral Orthodontic Clinic remain in their homes until that date. McBride says the University will comply with all BPHC requests and is working closely with the commission on appropriate and prudent further responses.
Jeffrey Hutter, dean of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, says the possibility of patient exposure to the virus is limited to a confined area dedicated to postdoctoral orthodontic patient treatment on the first floor of the dental school building at 100 East Newton St.
That dental school Post-Doctoral Orthodontic Clinic is located on the Boston University Medical Campus, almost two miles from the Charles River Campus. All activities on the Charles River Campus will proceed as scheduled.
McBride says that Student Health Services is advising all members of the Boston University community to remain home if they feel ill. In addition, all should practice good hygiene, including washing hands often with soap and water (alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective) and covering nose and mouth when coughing. They should avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth and avoid close contact with sick people.
The infected resident, who reportedly is feeling much better, has been at home since April 30. The resident has not traveled to Mexico. The source of the possible infection is unknown.
Last week, the Mexican government closed all schools and universities, including the BU study-abroad program in Guadalajara. The University has encouraged all students in that engineering program to return to their homes, rather than to the University. McBride says the University has activated a long-standing special team trained to respond to pandemics and other emergency situations. That team is coordinating actions with public health authorities and on-campus groups.
Read more information about H1N1 and frequently asked questions about the flu and its impact on campus activities.
Art Jahnke can be reached at email@example.com Comments