Swine Flu Update
April 27, 2009
As reported in the media, the extent of a swine flu outbreak in Mexico is being monitored and steps are already being taken globally to address the situation. The World Health Organization has declared this event "a public health emergency of international concern," and in the U.S., officials on Sunday declared a "public health emergency" in response to 20 confirmed cases of swine flu in this country, including eight in New York City. All of the infected people in the U.S. displayed mild Influenza-like symptoms and have recovered. According to The New York Times, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano characterized the emergency declaration as "standard operating procedure."
Health officials are currently recommending that people practice common-sense precautions to protect themselves:
- Increase the frequency with which you wash your hands. The College has alcohol-based sanitizers and antibacterial soap dispensers located throughout campus.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth in case the virus is on your hands.
- Do not share utensils, glasses, bottles or any other similar product.
- Employees who contract flu-like symptoms should see their primary care physician and remain home; students should visit the health center.
The symptoms for the swine flu are similar to those for other flu strains and include the following:
Acute respiratory illness:
- Rhinorrhea or nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Fever or feverishness
- Fever in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, plus cough or sore throat.
Hamilton has procedures in place to address outbreaks of disease and illness and receives regular notices from the Oneida County and New York State Departments of Health. At present, officials are recommending only that people practice good hygiene and visit their health care providers if they experience flu-like symptoms. We are monitoring the situation and will provide updates as necessary.
Christine Merritt, NP/PA-C
Director of Student Health