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Possible swine flu case alarms University of Nebraska-Omaha theatre department

A potential case of the H1N1 flu virus was discovered in the UNO Theatre Department. A member of the FAUST theatre group continued to attend rehearsals last week despite feeling sick, prompting the President of FAUST to send a warning e-mail to members on Sunday morning.

FAUST President Andy Shaw said he was not 100 percent certain if the girl was diagnosed with H1N1. Shaw sent another e-mail on Sunday afternoon to clarify her diagnosis.

Shaw said he didn’t ‘want to be the one to cry wolf’ over this potential case.

‘I apologize for last night’s scare about the H1N1 incident,’ he said in his follow-up e-mail. ‘It was Influenza A, not a confirmed case of H1N1, but I felt the need to at least warn everyone if there is even a potential chance that the FAUST group could be in danger.’

He encourages all FAUST members to see a doctor if they develop flu-like symptoms.

The girl has been on antibiotics since Monday and her doctor cleared her to return to campus.

Shaw declined to release the student’s name.

The student had been exhibiting symptoms but continued to attend rehearsals because she felt ‘the show must go on,’ Harrison-Gorey said in an e-mail.

Students should not panic, said Dr. Philip Smith, chief of infectious diseases at UNMC.

‘You don’t want to overreact to it,’ Smith said.

People at high risk for H1N1 infection are the same as those for seasonal flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control Web site. This includes the elderly, children younger than 5, pregnant women, people with chronic health problems such as asthma and people with immunodeficiencies such as HIV or AIDS.

‘If someone has H1N1, it has potential to spread to others,’ Smith said. ‘Fortunately, it’s still a mild illness. Healthy people who are exposed may or may not get it.’

Smith said FAUST members who worked within 6 feet of the student should seek medical attention if they exhibit potential symptoms.

‘If those people are basically healthy, I wouldn’t do anything,’ Smith said. ‘If they get sick, go to a doctor, tell them you were exposed to the flu.’

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