Prep student with swine flu shares ordeal

Camille Aquilia had never missed a day of school at Saint Francis Prep in almost four years.

That is, until last Friday.

The 17-year-old senior from Bayside, Queens, who traveled to Aruba with her family over Easter Break, returned to class on Monday, April 20 and was feeling fine.

Three days later, on Thursday, April 23, she said, she woke up with a sore throat.

Her boyfriend, who also goes to Prep, was feeling very ill.

“He never complains, but he said he had a sore throat, a huge headache and was really achy,” she told The Courier. “So he went to the nurse.”

“The nurse said she had a couple of people come in with the same complaints,” said Aquilia, who said she saw sick people lined up outside the office.

Her boyfriend went home early, she said, but Aquilia stayed through her last class.

By Thursday night, however, she was getting worse.

“My throat started to get worse, I was achy and lethargic. By that night I felt like I had a fever.”

When she woke up Friday morning, she knew she couldn’t make it in to school.

“I was like, ‘Mom, I can’t go to school,’” she said.

By that point, she was sweating and had the chills and diarrhea.

On Friday afternoon, she went to her doctor.

“They didn’t make it seem like that big a deal,” she told The Courier.

However, on Saturday, the Aquilias got a phone call from the doctor’s office.

Camille had to go back the doctor and be tested for swine flu, as mandated by the Department of Health (DOH).

They did a nasal swab, and on Monday, April 27, they got a call that Camille tested positive for a strain of swine flu. She was given antibiotics and told to rest.

“I felt like, ‘Oh my God, I’m one of the 28 [cases at that time],’” she said.

But by that time, she had started to feel better.

“I have a cough and runny nose,” she said. “Other than that I’m fine.”

Her parents, luckily, showed no symptoms.

“We washed our hands 1,000 times,” she said.

Still, she is not allowed to have contact with others – for seven days from first symptoms and for 24 to 48 hours after the signs subside.

“I have not left my house,” said Aquilia, who kept herself entertained by watching TV, going on the computer – and sleeping.

Now, as more than 100 Prep students and faculty have come down with mild symptoms and 28 have been diagnosed with swine flu, Aquilia is “apprehensive” about returning to school, which was announced closed through the end of the week.

“It was very scary,” said her mother. “Thank God no one was hospitalized and it was a mild strain.”

“The fact that it spread so fast is scary,” Camille said. “Whoever came back from Mexico probably spread it around pretty good.”

 Click here to read about the impact of the swine flu outbreak on local hospitals.

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