Swine Flu Called Likely In 5 Mica Students

July 18, 2009|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,liz.kay@baltsun.com

Five students in a Maryland Institute College of Art summer program have been diagnosed with probable H1NI influenza infections, commonly known as swine flu, a college spokeswoman said Friday.

Three of the students enrolled in MICA's pre-college program who were showing symptoms have gone home, said Kathleen Murray, the spokeswoman. One student has been isolated, as recommended by the Baltimore City Health Department, and another is asymptomatic, beyond the seven-day period of infection, Murray said.

The Health Department notified MICA of the probable infections Thursday afternoon, and an e-mail was sent to parents, faculty, staff and students that night, Murray said. As of Friday morning, no new cases had been reported, and the five students were recovering, Murray said.

FOR THE RECORD - An article Saturday incorrectly stated when Sandy Hill Camp in Cecil County shortened its session after 19 students exhibited flu-like symptoms. The camp shortened its session at the end of June.
The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

Pre-college program attendees, typically high school students, stay together in a MICA residence hall, but Health Department officials said there was no need to close any buildings or shut down the program, Murray said.

"The only recommendation was to isolate the five students," she said.

MICA's building services staff was instructed to sanitize surfaces such as elevator buttons more frequently. Sanitizer was also available at guard desks, college offices and in dining facilities.

Maryland health officials have confirmed 732 cases of swine flu. Three of those infected have died from the virus.

Summer camps are feeling the impact. Two children were sent home from a Harford County camp after testing positive for swine flu, health officials said this week. Sandy Hill Camp in Cecil County sent campers home midway through a two-week session last week after 19 children came down with flulike symptoms in 48 hours.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association canceled more than half of its weeklong camp sessions - including two scheduled for Camp Maria in Leonardtown - amid fears that children with already compromised immune systems could become critically ill if they came down with flu, something that is more likely in a setting of shared cabins and meals in close quarters.

Baltimore Sun reporter Mary Gail Hare contributed to this article.

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