UD continues to educate the campus on H1N1 influenza

2:12 p.m., Oct. 6, 2009----The University of Delaware continues to work to ensure that members of the University community are aware of the issues surrounding H1N1 influenza, its symptoms and treatment.

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Like most universities nationwide, the University of Delaware had an outbreak of H1N1 on the campus last spring. Fortunately, all the cases UD saw were relatively mild, and all students affected recovered quickly. UD has been working since the spring with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Delaware Division of Public Health to educate the campus as national concerns about H1N1 persist.

For the month of September, 39 UD students in all have been treated at Student Health Services for influenza-like illness (ILI). Within the month, there were no significant fluctuations from week to week. Their symptoms have been mild and all have recovered or are on their way to recovery. Normally, influenza cases are not seen until later in the fall.

According to the CDC, approximately 98 percent of the influenza viruses identified so far in the U.S. are 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses, so it is reasonable to assume most of the 39 students treated at Student Health Services for ILI in September may have or have had H1N1. Out of UD's population of more than 20,000 students, the number being treated for influenza-like illness remains very small, and so far this semester there has been no upsurge in cases.

Throughout the state, the Department of Public Health is reporting a modest increase in influenza activity. Forty-three cases of novel H1N1 influenza were reported statewide during the week of Sept. 20, compared to 14 cases reported the week of Sept. 6 and 28 cases reported the week of Sept. 13.

Through informational meetings, posters and a special H1N1 Web page -- linked directly from UD's home page -- the University has reached out to the community with the primary messages developed by the CDC: urging everyone to wash their hands and telling those who feel sick to stay home.

To reduce the spread of germs, 37 hand sanitizer stations have been placed at key locations across the University's four campuses, with most of them on the University's main campus in Newark. The custodial staff received special training and is taking additional steps in cleaning residence halls, classrooms and other academic buildings, particularly frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, railings, light switches and desktops.

Faculty members have been encouraged to review with their students the expectations and steps that will be taken should there be an extended interruption of classes, and administrators and faculty have explored technology options that will help them communicate with their students and continue instruction should an emergency occur.

In classes, faculty members will not be requiring medical excuses from students ill with flu-like symptoms, and the University has encouraged faculty and students to work directly with one another on fulfilling course requirements.

Students with flu-like symptoms have been advised to go to Student Health Services in Laurel Hall, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In keeping with CDC guidelines, students are advised to get rest, drink plenty of fluids, take acetaminophen for pain/fever and stay at home until they have been free of fever, without use of fever-reducing medication, for at least 24 hours.

H1N1 411 on UD's home page is continually updated with the latest information on campus policies and procedures, information on class schedules and campus events and state and national resources on flu prevention and containment.