Friday, May 1, 2009

GNAC track & field championships cancelled due to swine flu outbreak on Western Oregon campus...

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference has cancelled this weekend's conference track and field championship meet in Monmouth, Ore., GNAC Commissioner Richard Hannan announced Thursday night.

The cancellation is due to a probable single case of H1NI virus (swine flu) on the Western Oregon University campus. The meet will not be rescheduled.

The Oregon University system and the Oregon Department of Public Health have recommended closure of the campus at least through Monday. "President John Minahan has accepted that recommendation," WOU athletic director Jon Carey said.

One student is suspected of contracting the disease. The student, who lives off campus, exhibited flu-like symptoms earlier this week and tested positive for influenza A at the WOU Student Health Center.

The Polk County Health Department was notified and a specimen was sent to the State of Oregon Health Department lab. WOU officials were notified Thursday that the specimen would require further testing by the Center for Disease Control.

"There is a high probability that the student has swine flu," Carey said. "He has been tested and we are waiting for confirmation of the diagnosis from the CDC. If the tests come back negative, the campus could reopen on Tuesday."

"We believe there may be a large number of students that could have been exposed," Carey said.

"This is an unfortunate situation," Hannan said. "But, our No. 1 concern is the safety and welfare of everyone involved."

Many of the teams involved in the conference meet are looking for competitive alternatives this weekend, including Western Washington.

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