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H1N1 Update: Sept. 24, 2009

Dear Bates Community Members,

Where we are

We write again to keep everyone informed about H1N1.  While we have not yet seen H1N1 on the Bates campus, as of today, Sept. 24, 2009, we have had nine students experience an ILI (Influenza Like Illness).  The Health Center has sent nine cultures to the state lab to test for H1N1.  Eight of these cultures were negative with one still pending.  Five of these students, who lived within driving distance of campus, went home to recover, and the other four were placed in isolation spaces.  Eight of the students have recovered and are back on campus and in classes, and the ninth just recently began exhibiting symptoms.

Although we have no confirmed cases to date, we need to understand that it is likely to happen.  We will be giving regular updates on the H1N1 situation as warranted and we will inform the community immediately if/when we have a positive H1N1 culture.  Please remain vigilant about hand washing, good coughing and sneezing etiquette, and general good health practices.

Make a plan

We anticipate that the number of ill students may increase beyond our isolation capacity.  At that time, our plan will be to have ill students stay in their rooms.  Roommates of these students may choose to move in with a friend for several days.  WE ASK EVERY STUDENT TO DECIDE TODAY WHERE YOU WILL MOVE IF YOUR ROOMMATE BECOMES ILL. We also ask that you choose a friend now who will bring back a “take out” meal from Commons twice a day for you if you become ill.  Dining Services will deliver an initial box of fluids and basic food items to the ill student.   Students exhibiting flu-like symptoms will  be given access to an online symptom  flow sheet where they will document their  temperatures, symptoms, and  general  level of illness and will be in touch with the Health Center by phone.  If symptoms worsen, the Health Center will direct their care.  Please be sure you have a digital thermometer, Tylenol or ibuprofen, and tissues in your room in case you become ill.

Vaccines

Getting the regular flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine as soon as they become available will be critical to preventing a major flu outbreak on campus.  We and the CDC are strongly recommending that all students receive both vaccines as soon as they become available.  We are offering several regular flu vaccine clinics for all students as our ordered vaccines arrive.  Vaccines for employees have not yet arrived, but a clinic for faculty and staff will be scheduled when they do.  THE FIRST FLU CLINIC FOR STUDENTS WILL BE THIS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th IN NEW COMMONS, ROOM 221 FROM 3 p.m. UNTIL THE VACCINE RUNS OUT, PROBABLY AROUND 5 p.m. There is a $10 charge for this vaccine.  The state is hopeful that we will be receiving  the H1N1 vaccine some time in October.  That vaccine will be free to all students.  The testing on this H1N1 vaccine shows that one vaccine will probably be sufficient, that both regular and H1N1 vaccines may be administered at the same time in opposite arms, and that side effects and complications are similar to the regular flu vaccine.  Complications involve mild headache, sore arm and sometimes  mild muscle aches.  More information is available at the CDC web site.

So cover your coughs and sneezes in your sleeves, wash your hands frequently and make your plans in case you or your roommate becomes ill.  Stay well and informed!  We thank all of you for your continued cooperation in minimizing the spread of flu.

Christy Tisdale
Director of Health Services

Tedd Goundie
Dean of Students



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