H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) Information for Students

Posted on 8/31/2009 4:25:59 PM

While you may not be seeing much in the news now about the H1N1 virus (swine flu), we want to provide important information to you about this virus and the impact it may have at IUP this fall. Please share this information with your parents or family members.

IUP Center for Health and Well-Being staff members are closely tracking the information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PaDOH). They recently met with PaDOH officials to be able to provide you the most up-to-date information available.

On June 11, 2009, the WHO declared that H1N1 is causing a pandemic or worldwide outbreak. Illness is currently peaking in the southern hemisphere and waning in the northern hemisphere, including the United States. Even so, public health officials predict that the H1N1 virus will return in the fall with cases occurring in the United States as early as late September or early October. This is an illness that is more prevalent in individuals five to twenty-five years of age than in any other age group. College campuses, such as IUP, are likely to see high numbers of cases in the new school year.

Since this disease is occurring widely and is highly contagious, public health recommendations are aimed at mitigation, rather than containment. The primary goal is to reduce the burden of the disease and minimize its spread, and the most effective strategies for mitigation are hand-washing, cough and cold etiquette, and other non-pharmacological interventions. The most important non-pharmacological intervention currently recommended is to have ill individuals neither present nor in attendance at public, school, or group activities. As you can imagine, however, implementing this recommendation will be challenging for all colleges and universities, including IUP.

In compliance with the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommendations, IUP urges students with influenza symptoms to follow CDC self-isolation guidelines. Students should not attend class or any public gatherings while ill. Symptomatic students who live in residence halls should leave campus and return home to recover. The CDC recommends isolation until at least twenty-four hours after fever has resolved. For students who are unable to go home for their convalescence, the university will assist in identifying acceptable alternatives, to the extent possible. Regarding class attendance expectations, university administrators are updating the faculty regarding public health guidelines for flu prevention. The two most important approaches in reducing the spread of the flu are for ill individuals to consistently practice self-isolation and non-attendance/participation at public events and activities. If the H1N1 strain becomes more serious than the strain currently causing illness, the CDC will issue new and possibly more strict recommendations to prevent the spread of the disease.

At IUP, our public health professionals are distributing information about prevention strategies to all students, staff, and faculty. The university is installing dispensers of hand-sanitizing liquid throughout campus.

Information and updates about H1N1 and IUP's response can be found at the Center for Health and Well-Being and will be routinely included in the CHWB news and events page.

If you have questions, please contact IUP Health Services staff at health-inquiry@iup.edu.

Stay well!

Rhonda H. Luckey, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
1011 South Drive, Sutton Hall, Suite 211
Indiana, PA 15705
724.357.4977 (fax)