Campers at the State 4-H Camp at Jackson's Mill in Lewis County may have been exposed to the H1N1 strain of the flu during their stay. According to Associate Director with WVU Extension Services Ann Berry, three people at one of the two weeklong camps - one councilor at Alpha 1 and two campers at Alpha 2 - tested positive for swine flu.
An estimated 700 people, including counselors, campers and staff, stayed at the facility during the weeks of July 13 and July 20. An official with the Lewis County Health Department praised the staff at the Mill for its work in containing a swine flu outbreak at the camps.
Robert Posey, a regional epidemiologist, said three people tested positive for swine flu during their stay at the 4-H facility. All three have been treated and have returned to their homes.
Berry said on July 13 one camper was sent home with a confirmed case of the virus. As soon as the case was confirmed, Berry said the camp became very wary of any potential illnesses. During that week alone, 26 campers were sent home. However, Berry stressed that those campers could have simply had "the sniffles or a 99 degree temperature."
"We worked very closely with the Lewis County Health Department," Berry said Monday, "and became overly cautious."
A counselor, identified only as being from Pennsylvania, came down with the disease during the first week of camp. A resident of Summers County and a resident of Mercer County contracted swine flu during the second week of camp. Posey said all three were healthy when they reported to the camp.
Posey said the counselor and the Mill's staff "worked diligently" at controlling the spread of the disease, and the facility was disinfected.
Thirty-five campers showed symptoms of swine flu and were isolated from the other campers and eventually sent home.
"This is going on in camps all over the country," he said. "It's all going back to the initial outbreak in April."
Jamboree at the Mill is taking place all this week and Berry said the extension services took every precaution to make sure the Mill is safe. According to Berry, the three cases are the only ones confirmed from either of the two 4-H camps.
"We take it very seriously," Berry said.
Because the camps hosted 4-H'ers from throughout the state, the concern is that campers have taken the flu to home counties.
Tucker County had seven residents at the Alpha 2 camp.
The Randolph County Health Department has seen five cases of potential swine flu. According to RCHD Infectious Disease Specialist Bonnie Woodrum, it was only a matter of time until the flu strain came here.
"We have had three kids that have been tested positive for Influenza A and the tests have been sent to the state," Woodrum said. "Other kids at the same summer camp tested positive. We can go on the assumption that they were exposed."
Woodrum said two people from Tucker County have also tested positive for Influenza A through the emergency department.
"It is out there," Woodrum said. "At this time it is no worse than regular influenza. It is just another strain."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with novel H1N1 flu virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.