To the Campus:
You have no doubt been hearing news accounts related to the possibility of an outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus. I want to take this opportunity to clarify a few misconceptions as well as explain how the campus is prepared to deal with such a development.
First, the H1N1 virus--commonly refered to as swine flu--is, in fact, a different strain of virus but no more severe than the seasonal flu. Cases of the H1N1 flu this season are projected to be substanially fewer than the seasonal flu which we commonly experience. There are up to 1.5 million cases of seasonal flu in the world annually, compared to approximately 210,000 cases of H1N1 in the world through August of this year. The reason the word "pandemic" is attached to this particular strain of flu has more to do with the spread of the flu to several continents than to its seriousness. Again, far fewer cases of H1N1 are projected than seasonal flu, and it may in fact be milder.
Nevertheless, the campus has taken all appropriate precautions to ensure the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, including the ordering of 3,000 does of seasonal flu vaccine, with the goal of immunizing as many students as possible. The vaccine will also be available for a small fee in the Health and Wellness Center to faculty and staff. There is currently no vaccine available for the H1N1 vaccine, but one is expected in October. When we receive the vaccine, we will make it available to the campus community.
We have an alert team of professionals on campus who have kept abreast of developments and who will be attending workshops and briefing sessions on this topic. Should developments dicate, you will be informed in a timely fashion of our more detailed response. In the meantime, I invite you to visit the home page of our web site, where you can access information on how best to protect yourself with simple hygiene practices and to locate other resources. You may also note the posters distributed throughout campus that contain advice and suggestions.
W. Hubert Keen
Swine Influenza Information
There have been several confirmed cases of swine flu, twenty of which were in the U.S., with eight of those in New York City. While this is technically considered a pandemic situation, it is not cause for alarm. There are several ways that you can protect yourself, the most important of which is hand washing. In addition, Health & Wellness is awaiting information from the Suffolk County Department of Health regarding a specific protocol in the event of suspected cases.
Other recommendations from the Center for Disease Control include:
The NYSDOH hotline number for swine flu related questions is 800-808-1987.
If you are ill with any combination of the symptoms listed (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), please see your health care provider as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Health and Wellness Center at 631-420-2009. Health & Wellness will provide updated information as it becomes available.