DON’T be selfish.

This is what a 20-year-old Nursing student learned after becoming UST’s first confirmed case of the influenza A(H1N1) virus.

After a five-day tour of Hong Kong, the fourth-year student skipped the mandatory 10-day quarantine period and immediately went to school to attend an organizational meeting on the first day of classes. It was on Wednesday, June 17, when she felt flu symptoms.

“I was lying on bed, feeling sick. When I can no longer bear the pain, I asked my father to bring me to the hospital,” she recalled.

Although she was immediately admitted at St. Luke’s Medical Center, and had swab test on June 19, it took two days before results confirmed that she was positive for the virus. By that time, she had infected a number of people, including a fellow member of her student organization.

Her friend, in turn, infected her entire family in the province, and it was a domino effect.

On June 22, the Office of the Secretary General confirmed on public the first flu case in the University, resulting in the one-week closure of the San Martin de Porres Building, which houses not only the College of Nursing, but also the College of Rehabilitation Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

“I remember, when I was walking in corridors, my acquaintances would jokingly lift their clothes’ collars, and close their noses while giggling. I am not offended,” she said, recalling her return to school after recovering from the flu.

Although she did not mind having the virus, the first Thomasian flu carrier said she felt guilty, especially when her professor had to go on quarantine.

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“She has a son who recently had renal transplant. Her son should not acquire any sickness, otherwise his recovery might be affected. My professor said that she also quarantined herself, so as not to infect her son,” she said. “I felt sorry for what happened.”

Right now, the first Thomasian case and 19 others have “fully recovered,” according to the UST Health Service. But for the first victim of the virus, it was an experience she will never forget.

“Sometimes, even though how obnoxious the measures are, we really have to follow them in order to save others,” she added. Cliff Harvey C. Venzon

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