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Campus Life + Health & Wellness

Dental School Resident Recovering from “Probable” Swine Flu

Orthodontic clinic closed through May 8


David McBride, medical director of Student Health Services.

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 jahnke@bu.edu.


23 Comments on Dental School Resident Recovering from “Probable” Swine Flu

  • DJ Capobianco on 05.03.2009 at 3:33 pm

    Great, quick information

    Thanks for the quick and complete update. It’s much appreciated.

  • Jeremy on 05.03.2009 at 4:42 pm


    I appreciate the info – thanks!

  • Anonymous on 05.03.2009 at 5:18 pm

    Harvard dental school closed down when they got a probably case. Why not BU dental? That’s putting a lot of students at risk, in my opinion.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 5:25 am


  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 7:24 am

    I have 2 very small children at home, and can’t risk the “probable” exposure to the virus. Obviously, Harvard is taking this virus seriously, I think BU dental school should do the same.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 8:00 am

    why does David McBride’s photo have to be printed every time a news article is printed?!? :D

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 8:49 am

    Feeling safe

    I agree with the first comment. Many of my friends, co-workers and faculty members don’t feel safe going to work or school. BU should close and clean down the school for a few days.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 9:06 am

    BU Is handling this situation extremely poorly in my opinion. One email sent from BUSHS is not enough to calm any nerves, one from the Dean would be better suited.

    In addition, if I thought I had a life-threatening contagion, there is no way in hell I’d ever venture to SHS, after the countless misdiagnoses, two of which have landed me in the ER.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 9:15 am

    The sky is falling...

    the sky is falling!

    “Harvard dental school closed down when they got a probably case. Why not BU dental? That’s putting a lot of students at risk, in my opinion.”

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 9:29 am

    BU is handling this...

    in accordance with recommendations from the Boston Public Health Commission.

    We’re not really asking BU to shut down the Comm. Ave campus due to a probable case of a non-life threatening flu virus 3 miles away on another campus, are we?

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 9:56 am

    I had an appointment scheduled for tomorrow at 9am and I didn’t even know the Ortho School was closed this week. No one from the office called or anything. How Poor is That!

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 10:15 am

    H1N1 is not that threatening. At about less than 10% death rate, there is no need to panic. Just stay calm and go to a doctor if you feel sick. Do what you have to do as usual.

  • Daniel Shark on 05.04.2009 at 10:43 am


    The whole worry about Swine Flu is overblown, just like the bird flu a couple of years ago. More people die from the regular flu in a day than have died from this new flu. Furthermore, the strain found in the US is weaker than the one in the rest of the world. Sure, we should be careful, but the paranoia is really excessive, especially in the US.
    McBride sounds like he’s handling the situation the way it should be handled – as a serious problem, but not something worth shutting down a whole campus over.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 11:06 am

    Dear “BU is handling this” — I am on the MEDICAL campus, in fact about 2 feet away from the Ortho Clinic, for your information. My friends are BU dental students. Serious or not, I sure as heck don’t want to get the flu!

    And um, to “H1N1 is not that threatening”–a <10% death rate is still pretty significant. Would you like to be one of the people who does die from it--or even has to be hospitalized from it? I don't think so.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 11:11 am

    To all the people that are downplaying swine flu as not that serious, I’d like to see your reactions when someone you know, or yourself, actually GOT swine flu. I bet you’d be a lot more concerned.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 11:25 am

    not surprised from BU

    I think that BU is dealing with it very poorly as well. More info should have been sent out the moment it was discovered, not the next day. We should have recieved a letter from the dean or the president informing us. I found out from the Boston Globe YESTERDAY.

    I agree in that school should have been canceled or at least more precautions should have been taken. There is no way of knowing who the student had contact with since APRIL 27th and where they have been.

    Am I surprised how BU responded? No not at all, this is typical that all other schools take many more precautions than BU.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 12:27 pm

    From a Medical Campus Student

    For all those who are complaining over a lack of email from the Dean, the President, the Mayor or whomever, the medical campus students DID receive an email from the MEDICAL CAMPUS Dean informing us of the situation, as well as informing us what departments will be closed (ie the orthodontic clinic), and what remains open (ie everything else). For those on the main campus, unless you were one of the 12 patients, or 15 residents who were treated by this potentially infected student, which none of you are, there is no reason to start pulling your hair out over this. Have a little faith that the schools of Medicine, Dentistry and…wait for it…PUBLIC HEALTH might actually know what they are talking about in terms of dealing with any possible contamination.

  • kcornuelle on 05.04.2009 at 12:38 pm

    Re: not surprised from BU

    The story was published on BU Today yesterday.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 1:12 pm

    When Pigs Fly

    BU wont close the entire BUSDM campus! Come on guys! This is BU we’re talking about. They’d rather throw us under a bus, than lose a penny. Freakin’ BU

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2009 at 3:17 pm

    i think bu should take this alittle moore serioously. close down and not take for granted that it is undercontrol.it could be u who is infected next,.

  • Now what? on 05.04.2009 at 5:18 pm

    So, I have pretty much gotten anything and everything that has gone around this year, and now of course the swine flu hits BU. I mean how are we supposed to feel safe if they have contacted the patients and residents and asked them if they are sick? How do we know who those people have contacted and how far it could have possibly spread? I know the medical campus is away from the Charles River Campus, but it’s not that far. I’m just saying if it’s at BU and I get sick and THIS is the only warning I’ve gotten, I am going to be infuriated with this school. I can safely say that I don’t always read BU Today and I’m sure many others are the same. There ought to be a message from SHS or, like others have stated, the dean or something that will get everyone to pay attention and take precautions.

  • Anonymous on 05.06.2009 at 4:36 am

    To be honest, if this didn’t occur during finals i would rather get the virus because then i can show everyone a week later that it was really nothing. Most of the people that have died don’t have health care or refused to do to the hospital for payment reasons. If this sounds like you then you should be concerned, otherwise it’s just another flu.

  • Anonymous on 05.06.2009 at 9:16 am

    Dental Appointment?

    Today, Wed. I have an appt. on the 2nd floor of the Dental Schoo. I have been recovering from a near-death experience for the last 8 years. Should I go?

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