Campuswide Notice re H1N1 Virus—Update Sept. 18, 2009

Sept. 18, 2009

To: Luther College Students, Faculty and Staff

From: Luther College Pandemic Influenza Response Team

Re: Influenza-Like Illness Update

Luther College continues to have students report influenza-like illnesses, but the number of reports has been gradually decreasing since Monday, September 14. 

There have been five Luther students with confirmed cases of H1N1 since September 1, 2009.  The Iowa Department of Public Health and the CDC do not recommend the continuation of routine testing once an area has three to five confirmed cases, so Luther College Health Service has stopped testing in most cases. Most of the cases on campus have been relatively mild, and the novel H1N1 virus appears no more virulent or severe than most seasonal influenzas.

The college has instituted a web-based reporting system so that students can notify us when they are ill; this has been working well and is allowing us to closely monitor the number of influenza-like illnesses on campus.

Those seeking further information should visit www.luther.edu/fluinfo. That site will provide information and an Influenza Illness Report Form (http://www.luther.edu/student-life/health-service/H1N1/form/) that a Luther community member should fill out and submit electronically if she/he exhibits any symptoms of influenza.

Family Weekend and Homecoming activities will continue at Luther College as scheduled, though students, family members, alumni and visitors with influenza-like symptoms are reminded to practice personal responsibility, including self-isolation for at least 24 hours after one’s fever and other symptoms are gone.  Keep in mind this is the time of year of seasonal allergies and other upper respiratory viral illness, so one may not assume every symptom is automatically H1N1.

Students with high-risk medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, heart or lung problems, weakened immune system, cancer, or those who are pregnant are advised to contact their usual provider or specialist for further information and to advise the Luther Health Service of their high risk status.  These students should monitor themselves closely for symptoms and seek medical care if they develop any symptoms so that adequate evaluation and possible treatment can be initiated. 

Everyone is asked to assist the college in its public health prevention efforts by covering their cough, washing their hands frequently with soap and water (or hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available), refraining from sharing food, drink, utensils and personal care items, avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth, and staying isolated if ill.

Sept. 4 Campuswide Notice (http://www.luther.edu/headlines/?story_id=249981)