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Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Cases of H1N1 (swine) flu confirmed on campus, hygienic vigilance urged

The campus community has been notified that Princeton University and state health officials have confirmed that three Princeton graduate students and one adult graduate dependent have tested positive for H1N1 (swine) influenza. University Health Services (UHS) is urging members of the campus community to be aggressive in their vigilance of hygienic practices.

The University has no plans to limit visitors to campus or to disrupt planned activities, but UHS continues to recommend that individuals planning trips heed information provided by health authorities as they consider traveling, and to consult a physician before traveling if they have flu-like symptoms.

The four individuals who tested positive for H1N1 flu were mildly ill when they were tested, and all have since been treated with antiviral medication and are fully recovered or recovering.

The individuals first contacted UHS to report flu symptoms early the week of May 25 and remained in isolation until the period of contagion had passed last week, in accordance with guidelines outlined by the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The State Department of Health and Senior Services confirmed the individuals' test results Tuesday, June 2, as positive for H1N1 virus, although all are recovering or have recovered.

Students experiencing flu-like symptoms, or who were exposed to someone who has told them they had H1N1 flu, are being asked to maintain their distance from other individuals and immediately call University Health Services at (609) 258-3141. Students with fever and flu-like symptoms will be evaluated and isolated to help minimize the spread of the infection.

UHS also has asked faculty and staff experiencing flu-like symptoms, or who were exposed to someone who has told them they had H1N1 flu, to contact their personal physicians. Employees who do not have a personal physician and who would like a list of physicians in the Princeton area have been instructed to call Employee Health Services at (609) 258-5035 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

TREATMENT AND PREVENTION

The University is reminding the campus community of the CDC's guidelines for reducing the spread of illness, especially at large public events, where participants may frequently shake hands or hug, which increases the risk for the spread of illness:

  • Stay at home if you're feeling sick. Persons with flu-like symptoms (i.e., fever with either cough or sore throat) should stay home for seven days after the onset of illness or at least 24 hours after symptoms have subsided, whichever is longer.
  • Use good hygiene practices. To control the spread of infection, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you sneeze; and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers also is recommended.
  • Take precautions if you are at high risk for complications. Persons who are at high risk of complications from influenza (i.e. persons with certain chronic medical conditions, children less than 5 years old, persons 65 or older and pregnant women) should consider their risk of exposure to H1N1 influenza if they attend public gatherings in communities where influenza is circulating.

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information about the University's response to this public health issue and updates for campus visitors, please visit the H1N1 influenza Web page on the University's Emergency Preparedness website.

Members of the campus community who have specific health-related concerns not addressed by the University's H1N1 Web page linked above, are being asked to call University Health Services at (609) 258-3141.

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