Statement on H1N1 Influenza

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May 01, 2009

The DC Department of Health has advised the University that it has tested two GW students diagnosed with influenza by the GW Student Health Service and found that they are probably infected with H1N1 influenza. The DC Department of Health has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to do additional testing. The students were treated with Relenza after exhibiting flu symptoms and were given private rooms in a residence hall for their comfort and to limit exposure to other students. They are currently recovering rapidly following treatment.

Earlier this week, GW sent information to students, faculty, and staff on H1N1 influenza symptoms and prevention in a message from President Steven Knapp and via Campus Advisories. The GW Student Health Service and GW Medical Center have also posted information on their websites. This information remains in effect and is the recommendation of the DC Department of Health and the CDC:

SYMPTOMS
The signs and symptoms are similar to regular seasonal human influenza and include:
Fever
Cough
Sore throat
Body aches/ Headaches
Chills
Fatigue
Occasionally Diarrhea and Vomiting

The virus is mainly spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and respiratory secretions. The flu is contagious one to two days before and four to five days after symptoms start.

PREVENTION
Here are some ways that you can protect yourself:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds or use alcohol based hand sanitizers, because the virus lives for up to two hours on surfaces
- Avoid close personal contact with people who exhibit flu-like symptoms
- Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods and manage stress
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

If you notice symptoms, stay home from work or school, avoid contact with people as much as possible, and call your medical provider for advice. Your health provider will determine if influenza testing or treatment is needed. Once confirmed, the Centers for Disease Control reports that the H1N1 flu virus is treatable with prescription antiviral drugs.

Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more complete information and facts at: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

Additional information from the GW Medical Center is available online: http://www.gwumc.edu/weather/alert/gwumc_alert_information__update.htm

Questions and Answers

Q: What is the University doing to protect students?

A: Those students who were diagnosed with influenza have been treated and were given private rooms in a residence hall for their comfort and to limit their exposure to other students. Those who were in close living quarters with these students were alerted to their initial influenza diagnosis and given information about influenza symptoms and prevention. GW has sent information to students, faculty and staff on H1N1 influenza symptoms and prevention in a message from President Steven Knapp and via Campus Advisories. The GW Student Health Service and GW Medical Center have also posted information on their websites. This guidance remains in effect. The University has formed a task force to rapidly respond to any campus needs that arise.

Q: What is the University doing to clean areas that may have been exposed to the influenza virus?

A: The University is focusing particular attention on locations on its campus where students gather and is devoting extra resources to cleaning those locations.

Q: Will classes or exams be canceled?

A: Classes have already ended for the academic year. All final exams will proceed as originally scheduled beginning May 4 through May 12.

Q: Will commencement be canceled?

A: Commencement is currently proceeding as scheduled.

Q: Are staff able to telecommute?

A: The University remains open and operating and continues its usual practice of handling requests to telecommute on an individual basis.

Q: What are the symptoms of H1N1 influenza?

A: The signs and symptoms are similar to regular seasonal human influenza and include:
- Fever
- Cough
- Sore throat
- Body aches/ Headaches
- Chills
- Fatigue
- Occasionally Diarrhea and Vomiting

Q: How is the virus spread?

A: The virus is mainly spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and respiratory secretions.

Q: How long is the flu contagious?

A: The flu is contagious one to two days before and four to five days after symptoms start.

Q: What can be done to prevent H1N1 Influenza?

A: Here are some ways that you can protect yourself:

- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds or use alcohol based hand sanitizers because the virus lives for up to two hours on surfaces
- Avoid close personal contact with people who are sick with flu like symptoms
- Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods and manage stress
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

If you notice symptoms, stay home from work or school, avoid contact with people as much as possible, and call your medical provider for advice. Your health provider will determine if influenza testing or treatment is needed. Once confirmed, the Centers for Disease Control report that the H1N1 flu virus is treatable with prescription antiviral drugs.

Q: What if someone in my residence hall has or develops the flu?

A: The prevention recommendations stay the same. The influenza virus is mainly spread from close contact, person to person through coughing, sneezing and respiratory secretions. It lives for up to two hours on surfaces. You can protect yourself by washing your hands with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds or using alcohol-based sanitizers, avoiding close contact with people who are sick or have flu-like symptoms and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. If you notice symptoms, stay home from work or school, avoid contact with people as much as possible and call your medical provider for advice.

Please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web site for more complete information and facts at: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

Additional information from the GW Medical Center is available online: http://www.gwumc.edu/weather/alert/gwumc_alert_information__update.htm

For more information about The George Washington University, visit www.gwu.edu.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

GW Office of Media Relations - 202-994-6460 - [email protected]

 

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