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New York State
Swine Flu Hotline:

1-800-808-1987

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

H1N1 Update

As of Friday, Nov. 20, we have experienced 232 cases of influenza among students on the Troy campus. Some 18 students have active cases of the illness. Of those, none are currently in isolation rooms and 18 are recuperating at home with their families. The remaining 214 students are fully recovered. In addition, we continue to receive reports of small numbers of faculty and staff with influenza-like illnesses.

I want to remind you of the hours of the Student Health Center over the Thanksgiving break:

  • Thurs, Nov 26: 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • Fri, Nov 27: 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • Sat, Nov 28: 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Sun, Nov 29: 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

We will remain open during our regular office hours Mon-Wed this week.

You may have read of two additional deaths in this area from H1N1. To date, we have been fortunate at Rensselaer to have only encountered fairly minor complications from the illness. But, I would like to remind you that while usually mild, H1N1 can be deadly and college students remain a group at high risk for complications from the illness. Unfortunately, it is has been difficult to predict exactly who will suffer complications from the illness and some otherwise very healthy people have become quickly and gravely ill. I remind you of these facts to keep you vigilant in your efforts to protect yourself from getting sick.

As we leave campus for the Thanksgiving break, keep up with steady hand washing and avoid family members who are sick. Do your best to keep yourself and your family healthy over the break. I would very much like to see no increase in the number of cases on campus following the break. Please do your best to make that a reality to protect yourself and the rest of the campus community.

Vaccination is your best protection. We do not have an exact date on when additional vaccines will be delivered to Rensselaer, but it has been indicated to us by the New York State Department of Health that more could be delivered by mid-Dec. If you can receive the vaccine from a personal physician or public health clinic, I would ask that you strongly consider receiving it as soon as it is made available to you.

Your best protections against the flu include:

  • Vaccination with the 2009 H1N1 vaccine;
  • 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.

Please take care.

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

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