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New York State
Swine Flu Hotline:

1-800-808-1987

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The H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Outbreak
September 23, 2009: To the Rensselaer Community
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From: Leslie Lawrence, M.D.
Medical Director, Student Health Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Re: H1N1 Influenza

I would like to provide a brief update on the status of H1N1 influenza on campus. To date, four students have been diagnosed with an influenza-like illness that is most likely H1N1 influenza. Two students have recovered; one was taken home to get well; and the last of the four is an isolation room and thus far is recovering well.

I will continue to provide updates on the number of cases. If the patterns at other universities are any guide, the number of cases could change very quickly.

You may have noticed that hand sanitizers and wipes have been placed in most buildings around campus. Keep an eye out for them and use them often through the flu season.

As always, your best protections against the flu include:

  • Washing your hands often, especially after shaking hands with others (hand disinfectants may be used if there is no access to soap and water);
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing;
  • Covering your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow if you do not have a tissue;
  • Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially after contact with others; and
  • Keeping a three-foot [one-meter] distance between yourself and anyone who is ill.

Rensselaer students, faculty, and staff are advised to contact a physician immediately if they experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever (100 degrees F [37.8 degrees C] or higher), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and, less frequently, diarrhea and vomiting. Students who have any of these symptoms should immediately call the Student Health Center at (518) 276-6287 to make an appointment. Faculty and staff who have these symptoms should contact their personal physicians. Anyone on the Rensselaer campus with flu-like symptoms should not attend class or work until at least 24 hours after their fever subsides.

We recently learned that we should expect the first H1N1 vaccine in mid-October instead of the end of the month as we previously believed. We will be in touch as the distribution process is finalized.

We currently have a limited supply of the regular seasonal flu vaccine, and will begin vaccine clinics late next week. A full schedule will be posted soon on the Student Health Center Web site at http://studenthealth.rpi.edu/ and in The Poly. Please note that this is separate from the H1N1 vaccine and does not protect you from H1N1 influenza. It is still being recommended by the CDC that people receive both vaccines this flu season. Unfortunately, we have also had indications that the rest of our seasonal influenza vaccine supply will NOT be arriving on time as expected. This means we will start our seasonal flu vaccine campaign with one-half the expected doses. This will be distributed to high risk students and then the rest of the student population first. Therefore I would recommend that all faculty and staff receive seasonal flu vaccine from their personal medical providers if possible. If that situation changes, I will let you know as soon as possible.

Please take care.

Leslie Lawrence, M.D.
Medical Director, Student Health Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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