North Texas Colleges Safe from Swine Flu… So Far

Campuses Consider Contingency Plans

Universities and colleges across North Texas are closely watching the swine flu outbreak.  So far, none of the campuses report any confirmed or probable cases, but they're taking extra precautions in hopes of prevention. 

The UTA Health Services Department has already tested at least 25 students with flu-like symptoms, but all of the tests have come back negative for swine flu.  With about 5,000 students living in dorm rooms, health officials worry even one infected student on campus would be reason for concern.

"Certainly if they were coughing or sneezing it would be very likely that the infection would spread,"  said Bob Blum, Health Services Director.

Still, U.T. Arlington student Joe Williamson is worried more about his spring finals than about swine flu.

"I think everyone is taking precautions, so it isn't that big a deal," Williamson said.

Its a similar situation at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where 3,100 students live in campus housing.

"It is very easy for germs to spread in a dense group of people," TCU Vice Chancellor Dr. Don Mills said.

 The college has had a pandemic contingency plan in place for four years, but at this time, no swine flu cases have been reported among the universities students.

Regardless, TCU has taken extra precautions. Administrators have posted hygiene reminders around the school, and are encouraging students to use the hand sanitizer available in many of the common areas. 

"We want to make it very easy for students to follow proper health guidance and techniques," Mills said.

Both UTA and TCU are acting under the directive of the Centers for Disease Control and the Tarrant County Health Department.

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