Campuswide Notice re H1N1 Virus—Update 10/27/09

Oct. 27, 2009

To: Luther Students, Faculty and Staff
From: Luther Pandemic Response Team
Re: Current status report on H1N1 influenza

As the H1N1 influenza pandemic continues to slowly spread across the United States, we want to provide an update on the status of the influenza on the Luther campus.

To date, more than 160 Luther students have reported flu-like symptoms. For some of those students the illness has been severe, for most the symptoms have been moderate, and for some the illness has been mild.

There have been no students who have required hospitalization for treatment of flu-like symptoms or flu-related illness. The influenza has required no cancellation of classes, campus activities or events.

We recommend vaccination for seasonal flu. Nasal mist vaccine for seasonal flu is still available through the Luther Health Service for $25. Supplies of vaccine injections are gone, and the Health Service does not expect to receive more.

Winneshiek County Health Department does not anticipate delivery of vaccine for the H1N1 influenza virus any time in the near future. We will notify Luther students when that vaccine is readily available.

We remind all members of the Luther community that the best way to prevent the spread of the influenza virus is to practice:

  • frequent, proper hand washing
  • proper sneeze and cough protocol
  • social distancing
  • use of hand sanitizer each time you touch a public-access object (keyboard, telephone, door handle, etc.)
  • self-isolation if you exhibit flu-like symptoms

For complete flu response information, visit Luther Health Service website

We urge all students, faculty and staff to continue to follow flu-prevention precautions. If you have flu-like symptoms, please call Health Service, telephone 1045, for instructions.

If you are a person at higher risk for complications of influenza, please make an appointment to talk with Health Service (if you have not already done so).  “Higher risk” people would include students who have heart or lung conditions, asthma, liver or kidney problems, diabetes, a lowered immune status or who are pregnant.

If you have questions or concerns about the HN1 influenza, please contact Health Service.

In general, the H1N1 influenza has proved to be less contagious in its rate of spread and less severe in its symptoms than medical authorities expected when this influenza strain appeared about eight months ago.

The H1N1 influenza is now widespread in 46 states. Health officials estimated that millions of people in the United States have had H1N1 flu. About 20,000 of those people have required hospitalization and the flu has been a factor in the death of an estimated 1,000 people. Those hospitalization and mortality figures are far lower than those for a typical seasonal influenza.

On Oct. 24, President Obama declared the H1N1 influenza pandemic a national emergency. The declaration does not signal an increase in the rate of spread of the influenza or the severity of its symptoms; it does allow hospitals and local health departments to speedily set up alternate sites for treatment, if needed.