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April 28th, 2009

Members of the UAlbany Community:

Students who have traveled to Mexico, New York City, Ohio, Texas, Kansas, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, Scotland and Israel in the past seven days with symptoms of a documented fever of 100.4 F or higher respiratory illness should be evaluated. The University’s Health Center can provide evaluation and advice regarding treatment in suspected cases of Swine Flu.

As I mentioned yesterday, the symptoms of the Swine Flu are exactly the same as a typical flu and include sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, fever and muscle aches. Even the mildest form of the flu, including Swine Flu, will result in symptoms similar to a simple cold with the possibility of fever and muscle aches in more significant forms. Only patients with documented fever require evaluation.

To avoid catching or spreading the flu, you are encouraged to take the following steps:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    When you are sick, keep your distance from others (minimum three to six feet) to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Seek medical attention when you are sick.
    This will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Coughing or sneezing into the bend of your elbow, when tissues are not available, directs the cough/sneeze downward and is helpful.
  • Clean your hands often.
    Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Twenty seconds of hand washing with hot water and soap or use of a disinfectant hand lotion is recommended.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
    Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

To date, there have been approximately 50 confirmed cases of the Swine Flu in the U.S. Only one case required hospitalization, there were no deaths, and the vast majority of those diagnosed had mild illness. Confirmed cases of Swine Flu have been reported in Mexico, New York City, Ohio, Texas, Kansas, Canada, Spain, New Zealand and Israel.

At this point, the University is monitoring the situation with the assistance of the Albany County Department of Health, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization.

Additional information is available form the following resources:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm

NYS DOH: http://www.nyhealth.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/swine_flu/swine_flu_questions_and_answers.htm

NYS DOH Hotline: 1-800-808-1987

I will update you should additional information become available. If you have any questions not answered by the above resources, please send them to askUHC@uamail.albany.edu.

We will do our best to answer your questions in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Peter Vellis, DO
Medical Director
University Health Center