GW students are first reported cases of swine flu in the District

6:09 p.m. Continuing coverage.
Update at 5:13 p.m. University Spokeswoman Tracy Schario said she does not know the whereabouts of the two students who preliminarily tested positive for swine flu. Schario said they were isolated “for safety, protection of others, but it is not a quarantine situation.”

She added, “There is no need for panic.”

Update at 5:08 p.m. Williams said it is likely that the swine flu has been spread to more students.

In response to a reporter’s question about the likelihood of the virus spreading, Williams said, “That would be a guess, however there probably will be more students as there will be other citizens in the United States.”

Update at 5:05 p.m. University Provost and Vice President for Health Affairs John “Skip” Williams has begun answering questions from reporters at the press conference.

“The first thing we did was start these students on an antiviral,” Williams said. “We then moved them to a private room to decrease the possibility of them spreading it to other students.”

Update at 4:59 p.m. Dr. Pierre Vigilance, head of Department of Health, said “We don’t want people to be alarmed. The probable cases we have observed at GW are exhibiting the same mild symptoms as other U.S. citizens.”

Vigilance said that the cases have been sent the Centers for Disease Control for further testing. The two female students were infected because one student traveled to “an area of concern” and then passed the virus to the other student, Vigilance said.

Vigilance added, “The University has taken excellent measures to place these students in separate locations.”

Update at 4:51p.m. Two GW students are the first reported cases of the swine flu in the District, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty announced.

“There are two probable cases at H1N1 here in Washington, D.C.,” Fenty said. “Both of the cases involve students at the George Washington University in the District of Columbia.”

Fenty said both of the students have been treated and neither were hospilizied. The University and the Department of Health are working together to “identify any possible exposures and to prevent the spread of the virus,” Fenty said.

Original Post: The University and the D.C. Mayor’s Office have called a press conference about the swine flu virus this afternoon, a University spokeswoman told The Hatchet.

The press conference is scheduled to start at 4:45 p.m. at the Department of Health in Northeast, D.C. The swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus, has been confirmed in more than 140 people nationwide but there have been no confirmed or suspected cases of the swine flu in people who live in the District.

Tracy Schario, a University spokeswoman, did not say whether the conference was linked to two students who tested positive earlier this week for the “A” strain of influenza, a strain related to the swine flu. If the two students who tested positive are confirmed cases, they would be the first reported in the District. Two men who work in the White House and the World Bank have “probable cases” of the swine flu, but both live in Maryland.

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