MU student in China diagnosed with swine flu

Monday, May 11, 2009 | 6:46 p.m. CDT; updated 10:26 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 11, 2009

COLUMBIA — An MU doctoral student in China has been diagnosed with the H1N1 flu strain, commonly called swine flu, according to a statement from the MU News Bureau.

The student, Xueyang Bao, 30, is enrolled in the geology department and lives at University Heights, part of campus housing. He is not an instructor. He had not recently traveled out of state before leaving for China, said Mr. Chen, a 25-year-old doctoral student who knows Bao well. Chen asked to be identified only by his last name.

Bao was going to China to do lab research on earthquakes and is planning to get married in China this summer, Chen said. Bao was then planning to return to Columbia.

Eric Sandvol, Bao's advisor, was told not to comment on the situation. "I've been told by the press office that there are issues of privacy involved," Sandvol said.

Susan Even, Student Health Center director, said considering that there have been cases of H1N1 in Missouri, it is "likely that he was exposed here and developed symptoms en route."

Even said the student began developing symptoms during his final flight to China last week, but it is likely that his flu was contagious 24 hours before he showed symptoms. He is currently in a hospital in China and is "doing well under observation," Even said.

Even said MU can expect to see more students with the H1N1 flu strain, but she emphasized that the strain does not appear more dangerous than the seasonal flu. She recommended that students self-treat and stay out of class if they become ill. Students who have flu-like symptoms will be treated with over-the-counter medications unless they have other underlying conditions, such as severe asthma, that require evaluation and treatment.

Four more cases of H1N1 were confirmed in Missouri over the weekend, bringing the state's total number of confirmed cases to 14.

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