JCCC: Subdue Swine Flu

Posted Tuesday, April 28 on the Johnson County Community College electronic mail server, Infolist:

Swine flu precautions at JCCC
As you may be aware, a public health emergency has been declared in response to the swine flu outbreak. Local, state and national health departments are aware of the situation and are taking appropriate actions.

Johnson County Community College is in ongoing contact with the local health department and other state resources in order to appropriately monitor the event. In addition, we are making full use of resources available through the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization in the steps we are taking to safeguard the health of the campus community. JCCC will continue to keep the campus informed on an as-needed basis and as situations are updated.

What is swine flu?
Swine influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by
type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

What you can do
There are a number of straightforward actions you can take now and in the days and weeks ahead:

  • Contact your local health professional if you have a concern – should you develop symptoms consistent with an influenza-like illness (nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, body aches, fatigue and fever greater than 100 degrees) – and most especially if you have recently traveled to an area experiencing an outbreak of this illness. Please contact your health care professional to seek advice.
  • Stay calm – the illness caused by this virus has been mild in the U.S., and we are fortunate to have access to a well developed and highly capable public health infrastructure.
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. This simple action makes it much harder for all viruses to spread from person to person. Using a hand sanitizer or washing your hands with soap and water for 15 seconds is an extremely effective way to safeguard your health.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm (not your hands) and then dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.
  • Stay home if you are ill. This is very effective in minimizing the spread of this (and all) viruses. If you should develop symptoms that are compatible with influenza, contact your health care provider for advice. Stay at home (or in your room) and away from public gatherings including classes, college offices, dining areas, concerts, etc.
  • Pay attention to information sent to the college community about influenza. We will keep you informed in a timely way about developments and any actions the college takes in response to the influenza outbreak.

What we know now
As you may know, this strain of influenza was first identified in Mexico and has now been detected in five states (California, Texas, Ohio, Kansas and New York). It is important to note that, to date, the severity of illness experienced in the United States from this virus is less than that noted in Mexico. Individuals who have experienced this illness in the U.S. have experienced a relatively mild course and have not required hospitalization.

Symptoms of the illness include nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, body aches, fatigue and fever generally greater than 100 degrees. Occasionally, diarrhea has been noted with this illness. Please note that these symptoms are different than “cold” symptoms, which typically include some combination of nasal congestion, sore throat and/or cough.

What JCCC is doing
As noted above, the college continues to monitor this situation very closely and is maintaining its ongoing contact with local, regional, national and international public health authorities. There are no confirmed cases of swine flu in the metropolitan area, although travel to Mexico is not recommended.

In summary, the college will continue to monitor this situation very closely and will act with both diligence and speed to address the needs of the college community in the days and weeks ahead. Our commitment is to provide you with information that is clear, timely and relevant. We will communicate with you regularly as new and important information becomes available.

Anything we can do to help minimize the spread of germs that may cause illness makes good sense. Hand washing and hand sanitizing are especially critical to minimize the spread of germs during times of illness outbreak.

Because it is an evolving situation, we recommend you go to the CDC website, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/investigation.htm, and the World Health Organization website, http://www.who.int/en/, for updated information and travel guidelines. Questions and answers are also posted on the Johnson County Health Department website, http://health.jocogov.org. The health department also has a flu hotline, 913-826-1263. For questions about JCCC and the swine flu, contact Alisa Pacer, emergency preparedness manager, at apacer@jccc.edu.

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