H1N1 Flu Information
Weekly Update: As of Oct. 9, 2009, there have been 18 presumed H1N1 cases among Susquehanna students.
9/1/09 News Release: First Presumed H1N1 Case Diagnosed
The World Health Organization has declared a Phase 6 alert level for a worldwide pandemic of the H1N1 flu virus. A Phase 6 alert signals that “a global pandemic is under way." Susquehanna University is working with federal, state and local agencies to stay abreast of the situation and has initiated a pandemic emergency plan.
Susquehanna’s Pandemic Emergency Plan
Susquehanna University initiated planning for the current H1N1 pandemic last spring as soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began issuing alerts. Relying on the structure of its crisis management plan, which has been in place for about two years, the university assembled a 16-person pandemic planning team that represents critical functions across the institution. The team, chaired by Executive Vice President Sara Kirkland, worked throughout the summer considering how to react to a variety of potential scenarios.
The planning team has convened two special subgroups: one to develop community health communications—including a strong preventative care message—and another to map out essential personnel duties and how to respond to and track absenteeism. In addition, a smaller steering group, composed of members of the pandemic planning team, has been meeting regularly since September.
All department heads have been asked to develop alternative plans to respond to the loss of critical functions. Loss of information technology, limited access to the campus and high absenteeism of staff are examples.
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The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to those of the regular human flu—fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
Everyday prevention techniques are critically important. They include covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; throwing the tissue in the trash after you use it; washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze; avoiding close contact with sick people; not touching your eyes, nose or mouth so that you don’t spread germs; staying home from work or school except to seek medical care.
Susquehanna’s Procedures for Responding to Suspected H1N1 Cases
Students who have flu-like symptoms—fever of 100 F or greater, cough, muscle aches, fatigue—should call or visit the Health Center. If a student isn’t sure symptoms merit contacting the Health Center, he or she should talk it over with an RA, faculty member, coach, work supervisor or public safety officer.
606 University Ave.
Weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ...... 570-372-4385
After hours and weekends ......................... 570-374-9164
If students call the Health Center after hours, calls will be answered by Evangelical Hospital staff, who will notify on-call Health Center staff as quickly as possible. Students who are waiting for a return call from the Health Center should stay in their residence hall rooms alone if roommates are willing and able to offer that option. The on-call Health Center nurse will assess the symptomatic student and pro-vide instructions as follows:
If H1N1 is suspected:
> The student will be given a mask to prevent spread of infection.
> Health Center staff will ask the student for a list of social contacts to be notified of potential exposure. These would include, for example, roommates; girlfriends, boyfriends or partners; and people who may have shared lip balm or lipstick, food or drink.
> A parent or guardian will be contacted to pick up the student for recovery at home.
> While the student waits for a parent or guardian to arrive, he/she will be directed as follows:
- Return to the residence hall room or house, or an appropriate alternative location, and remain there until a parent or guardian arrives.
- If a student presents complicating or high-risk factors such as a chronic medical condition (asthma, diabetes, heart disease) or pneumonia, the student will be transported to Evangelical Hospital. Students with a suspected case of H1N1 who are unable to return home because of distance or extraordinary circumstances will be placed in empty student living quarters, if available, or in accommodations at 610 University Ave. for the duration of their illness.
Students presumed to have the flu who refuse to isolate themselves from others until a parent or guardian arrives or their illness has passed will be subject to provisions outlined under “endangering others” in the Student Handbook.
Students may return to campus once they recover—at least 24 hours after fever has subsided (without the use of fever-reducing medicine), usually five to seven days after the onset of first symptoms. They should not return until they are well. Their first responsibility is to avoid endangering the health of fellow students, faculty and the rest of the campus community.
For roommates of symptomatic students:
> Healthy students should consider whether they are willing and able to offer a symptomatic roommate time alone in the residence hall room or house while he or she waits for a Health Center call-back and/or a parent or guardian to arrive.
> Continue prevention measures such as washing hands and covering coughs.
> Healthy students who are concerned about contagions in their living quarters can obtain a mask from the RA.
> Roommates of students who have been diagnosed with influenza-like illness should expect to be contacted by the Health Center. They do not need to seek health care, however, unless they have flu-like symptoms or if they have an underlying, compromising chronic illness.
Students are encouraged to get the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine when they become available. The CDC expects an H1N1 vaccine will become available this fall.
Susquehanna offered seasonal vaccines to students, faculty and staff in September. The vaccinations cost $25. Another round of seasonal influenza vaccines will be available in October to students, faculty, staff and the greater community. The vaccinations will be administered in the President’s Dining Room in the Degenstein Campus Center by Evangelical Hospital. Hours of the clinic operations will be from 3-6 p.m. on Oct. 6 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 20. The $25 fee can be applied to individuals’ health insurance plans. Students may bill the cost of the vaccinations to their accounts.
Additional seasonal flu vaccination clinics are planned at Susquehanna later in the fall. Visit this space for updates. Vaccinations also will be available from health providers and some retail outlets. Wal-Mart in Selinsgrove will be offering the seasonal flu vaccine for $28 on Oct. 2, 3, 21, 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walmart in Lewisburg will be offering the seasonal flu vaccine for $28 on Oct. 5, 6, 23, and 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost can be applied to individuals’ health insurance. General information about seasonal flu vaccines is available from the CDC.
When H1NI vaccines become available, they will be provided at no cost. Target populations will be pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
A shortage of the vaccine is not expected, but initially supplies may not be enough to cover demand. In that case, the CDC recommends making the vaccine available to the following groups before others:
- pregnant women
- people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
- health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact
- children 6 months through 4 years of age, and children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.
More information about the H1N1 vaccine is available from the CDC.
Information for Parents
Information for Students
Information for Faculty/Staff
Dr. Lisa Marie Esolen, director of infection control at Geisinger Health System, discusses characteristics of the H1N1 flu and the reasons why colleges and universities are especially vulnerable.
WATCH (Streaming Flash video. Duration: 25 min.)
LISTEN (.mp3 format, 2 MB. Duration: 2 min.,16 sec.)