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WKU Health Services flu update

Here’s the latest information (Friday, May 1) from Libby Greaney, director of WKU Health Services, about the swine flu issue and its impact on the WKU community. For information, contact Health Services at (270) 745-5641.

1. WKU Health Services remains in constant contact with the CDC and the Barren River District Health Department for all relevant and up-to-date information.

2. WKU Health Services has met internally with various department representatives to establish initial communication and to discuss potential action plans for a higher level of response and/or involvement. We are essentially at Level 1 which is awareness and initiation for communication, establishing inventories, etc. A higher level of response will be initiated when we have a confirmed case on WKU’s campus. And even with that — one case will warrant certain response levels vs. several cases in one epicenter (such as a particular residence hall floor, etc..)

When/if that happens, we will activate the needed response, work with key personnel and communicate to the campus community exactly what is being done. While we do have a general pandemic policy, we are well aware that the protocol will be different according to the particular virus/bacteria, we are facing at any particular time (e.g. meningitis, TB, STD’s, flu, food/airborne illness, etc.) It is this protocol that will dictate the details of our action plans. We will keep you posted on these steps as needed.

3. We are following all standard guidelines for testing patients with flu-like symptoms. If they test positive for Flu Type A, we then send the specimen to the state lab in the required packaging. This confirmation takes up to two weeks.

In the meantime, all standard advice for the seasonal flu, holds true for the swine flu:

A. If you are sick with the flu, keep yourself away from others

B. Stay out of work or school until you recover

To avoid getting the flu:

A. Avoid being around someone who is sick and actively coughing and sneezing

B. Cough into your sleeve or a tissue (not your hands)

C. Wash your hands thoroughly and often

4. The latest information we have received is that this swine flu is no more virulent or transmitted any differently than the regular seasonal flu, which is around each year.

5. WKU Health Services will post relevant links and further information on our website and will continue to keep the campus community posted as needed. Those links include the following: WKU Health Services, pandemic flu checklist, CDC’s H1N1 alert, Google’s H1N1 higher education map, CDC’s clean hands tips, CDC’s flu tips

In conclusion:

This flu is similar to the regular seasonal flu; just an interesting mix of strains all together.

There is no vaccine for this strain, because it wasn’t known at the time the seasonal vaccine was manufactured.

At this point, there is not need to eliminate travel; just follow standard universal precautions for reducing your exposure.

There is one documented case in Kentucky; but that still does not warrant a different response level for us at this time.

Good news: This swine flu is very responsive to Tamiflu.

Again, for more information, contact WKU Health Services at (270) 745-5641.

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