Date: April 29, 2009
Over the past week, media reports of North American Human Influenza A (H1N1)–commonly known as swine flu–have dominated headlines. Health experts say young, healthy adults, such as the student population at Andrews University, are at low-risk for severe complications. The University has not been notified of any suspected or active swine flu cases on campus. The University’s Emergency Operations include a pandemic and influenza plan. In consultation with the Berrien County Health Department, administration is taking precautionary educational steps.
Today, reports confirmed the first H1N1-related death in the United States. Yesterday, it was reported a University of Notre Dame student had been ill with H1N1. That student is now fully recovered and in good health. According to CNN, the number of total confirmed cases in the United States is at 64; confirmed cases worldwide are at 112. To put those numbers into perspective, CNN reports, "Common seasonal flu claims about 36,000 lives each year in the United States, and 250,000-500,000 worldwide, far more than the current outbreak of swine flu."
About Swine Flu
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people do not normally get the H1N1 virus—a respiratory disease of pigs—but human infections can and do happen. Reports indicated it is spread like common seasonal flu: person-to-person contact.
Symptoms of H1N1 are similar to the symptoms of common seasonal flu including fever (greater than 100 degrees), cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting are also possible symptoms. Like the common seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. Any student, faculty or staff member experiencing a fever over 100 degrees along with other flu-like symptoms is strongly encouraged to visit a medical health professional.
What You Can Do
The University will continue to operate as normal, however, with graduation approaching, summer term beginning and international study tours preparing for departure, you can help prevent the spread of germs in general—and H1N1—by following these simple, commonsense recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Cover your nose and mouth—ideally with a tissue—when you cough or sneeze.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
• If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
The University is taking steps to support the campus in staying healthy. Hand sanitizer stations will be positioned in high traffic areas. Building managers are being encouraged to sanitize common areas, such as door knobs and counters.
CDC Swine Flu Web site: www.cdc.gov/swineflu