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Update to the Reed Community on the Strain of Human H1N1 Virus


From:

Michael Brody

Reed College Acting Vice President and Dean of Students

TO THE REED COMMUNITY:

(April 30, 2009)--As you may know, President Obama declared a public health emergency as a result of the human cases of swine influenza that have been identified in Mexico, the United States, and several other countries. This is a newly identified strain of the virus with an apparent ability to spread from person to person like seasonal influenza. We know that this may be causing concern for you, your classmates, family, and colleagues, and we want to give you information about what we know.

At this time investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection and whether additional people have been infected. We can anticipate that these investigations will identify more cases in both the United States and abroad. Public health organizations carefully monitor health situations on a daily basis, increasing surveillance efforts as needed to understand the nature and scope of health emergencies. Reed Health and Counseling Center will continue to be in contact with our county and state health departments, as well as the American College Health Association, and provide you with updates as necessary.

At this time there are no known cases in Oregon, hospitals haven’t reported an increase in serious respiratory illness, and seasonal influenza cases are declining. That being said, routine prevention efforts are extremely important in decreasing the likelihood of the spread of diseases, including swine influenza. These efforts include the following behaviors:

     * Frequent hand-washing
     * Cover your cough (with inside of elbow or sleeve, not hand)
     * Stay home from classes or work when you are sick
     * Students, faculty, and staff members should contact the health and counseling center (503/777-7281) if they experience the following symptoms: fever with Respiratory symptoms and/or nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. If the situation worsens, the health and counseling center has an ample supply of the tests necessary to identify the flu, as well as Tamiflu and masks.

We are watching this situation carefully, as things can change rapidly. As the situation develops, we will make additional information available. At this time, we are not recommending any additional actions be taken other then the important prevention efforts listed above.

For additional information about swine influenza, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm.