Mac College Influenza Outbreak

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By: Deiah Curtis

Coughing, shivering, burning throat and fever through the roof. These are the beginning signs of what is now one of the biggest Influenza out breaks in decades, and doctors are screaming, “Stay home!”

We’ve been hit hard at McPherson College, but the number of sick staff and students is low in comparison to other institutions around the country. 49 states have experienced wide-spread Influenza outbreaks lasting for over three weeks. 12 states having to shut down several schools, districts and universities because of the severity of the infection. In Florida, a school of 1,900 students had over 550 confirmed cases of influenza, causing a two week shutdown. 37 children have lost their lives due to either symptoms of the flu or complications that arose from it. The death toll is speculated to be even higher in adults according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), but the number of cases of infection or death related to influenza is not recorded after the age of 18.

Back on McPherson’s campus, students and staff alike are feeling the influenza’s wrath and the college is doing its best to keep afloat in the raging seas of fever and fatigue. “Just last week, we had six confirmed student cases of the flu on campus,” says Ben Coffey, Associate Dean of Students. “The flu is a tricky thing we are dealing with as it is an airborne infection. The maintenance has worked tirelessly on making sure all surfaces are cleaned and disinfected even more than usual. We’ve also continued to contain the flu by keeping students that are infected in ‘sick rooms’ and keeping them from contact with others while allowing them to recover.”

The number of student and staff infections on campus have finally started to slow, but it’s still a highly contagious virus that’s tearing through the campus and the country. You’re not doing anyone any favors by showing up when you’re sick. As much deep-cleaning and disinfecting is going on around campus, the infection is airborne and is passed easily through coughing or sneezing. Do everyone a favor and stay home if you’re experiencing any fever, non-stop coughing, or sore throat. See a doctor with your symptoms and make sure to let your RD or RA know what you are dealing with. Once people know about it, you will be able to get the help you need to get over the flu. We don’t want anyone else infected, so if you are infected, make sure you do us all a favor and stay home.