Campus Flu Update
Dear Ship Family - An Update:
Earlier this week, I sent you e-mail about the current swine flu cases, as well as that two of our students had gone to Etter Health Center with flu-like symptoms. I'm happy to report that tests for both were NEGATIVE for the swine flu.
Even with this good news, it is important for the campus community to be aware of the facts regarding this flu and its impact on the university. As of today, 91 cases of swine flu have been reported in the U.S., including the death of an infant in Texas. No cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, though cases have been reported in our neighboring states of Ohio, New York and Delaware.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is working with various agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to monitor of the situation and to better understand the steps that the Commonwealth is undertaking. That information is being shared regularly with President Ruud and other administrators here so the latest information is available at all times.
In the meantime, the university is operating on its regular schedule, including conducting the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies Friday and Saturday, respectively.
At the state level, PEMA and the Department of Health are increasing their preparedness and disease surveillance but have not issued any advisories. At the federal level, the government has issued a travel advisory to Mexico and is urging that non-essential travel to Mexico be postponed. In addition, officials are asking that anyone who has traveled to or from the affected areas and has a respiratory illness to contact their health care provider immediately and inform them of the travel before seeking care.
Even though we are at the end of the semester and the number of individuals on campus is decreasing, we urge everyone to continue to follow basic good health practices as you would throughout the year, especially during flu season. These include to:
- Seek care if you have flu-like illness;
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue;
- Properly dispose of used tissues;
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water;
- Use an alcohol-based (at least 60%) hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and
- Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and get ample rest and exercise.
According to health information, the swine flu symptoms are similar to the seasonal flu--fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people have also reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. People are contagious for seven days or longer after the onset of symptoms. Although no vaccine is yet available, this flu has responded to certain antiviral drugs.
Further information is available at a number of websites, including http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu, www.pandemicflu.gov and www.health.state.pa.us. General tips about preparing for emergency situations are available at www.ReadyPA.org.
If further information is available that will have an impact on the campus community, we will share that with you.