The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has been notified by the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene that two additional students have confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza. This makes for a total of three confirmed H1N1 cases among our students. In both of the newly confirmed cases, the individuals do not live on campus, are not attending interim classes and are unrelated. Appropriate measures have been taken to treat and isolate these individuals.
The University will continue to monitor the situation. Additional information and campus H1N1 influenza updates will be posted here and on the University’s H1N1 Web site: www.uwosh.edu/home/h1n1.
The University encourages individuals to monitor for influenza symptoms and seek medical attention as appropriate. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/swineflu_you.htm) or the Wisconsin Pandemic Flu Resource Office (http://pandemic.wisconsin.gov).
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh was notified by the Department of Public Health late this morning that a student tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus. The student has returned home for the recommended period of isolation and treatment. Those who may have had contact with the student also were notified.
The University, in conjunction with the local Department of Public Health and the Student Health Center, will continue to monitor the situation. At this time, however, the University does not anticipate a change to operations and will continue with “business as usual” for UW Oshkosh.
Students with flu-like symptoms should contact UW Oshkosh Student Health Center or their regular physician for testing. University faculty and staff with flu-like symptoms should contact their personal physician.
The UW Oshkosh Student Health Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/swineflu_you.htm), and the Wisconsin Pandemic Flu Resource Office (http://pandemic.wisconsin.gov) advise the following steps to protect your health:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to reduce the potential spread of viruses such as influenza
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get symptoms of influenza (fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea), stay home from work or school except to seek medical care, and limit your contact with others. If you are feeling ill, you are encouraged to coordinate arrangements with your supervisor and/or professor to remain at home, seek medical assistance and limit contact with others to help reduce further transmissions.
As the H1N1 is a new virus, it is unknown at this time how severe the outbreak will be in comparison with seasonal influenza viruses. It is expected that the number of cases will continue to grow. It is reassuring that although the H1N1 flu continues to spread quickly, the mortality rates are very low and typical of seasonal flu.
As the state’s third largest university drawing from a student population across the state, the institution continues to closely monitor of H1N1 virus developments across the state as well as internationally. UW Oshkosh’s Pandemic Response Team, comprised of representatives from the health center, student affairs, residence life, and administrative services and academic affairs, are continually reviewing the situation and the institution’s pandemic response plan to determine and activate the necessary precautions and health best practices to ensure the health and safety of the campus community, including the campus-wide distribution of the hygiene poster campaign; distribution of hand sanitizers to all high-traffic areas and entrances to residence halls; and residence life staff training updates regarding proactive measures to safeguard community health.
The campus community will be notified of any changes to University operations via e-mail, the University’s Web site (http://www.uwosh.edu/home/h1n1/), and the media as well as text messaging via TitanAlerts. To register for TitanAlert, visit http://www.uwosh.edu/home/titanalert.
As the campus community prepares to recognize the achievements of the Class of 2009, it is faced with unusual circumstances regarding the H1N1 virus. While there has been some debate as to the University’s decision to discourage handshakes, this decision does not take away the importance and celebratory nature of the ceremony’s 135-year tradition.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still encourages responsible personal hygiene and recommends limited personal contact. For personal and public health reasons some graduates may not feel comfortable shaking hands — and the University does not intend to place these graduates in a situation that affords mandatory handshakes. The Chancellor, faculty and other University officials will shake the hands of those individuals who initiate the gesture. However, that decision is the graduate’s to make.
At the time this decision initially was made, public institutions were encouraged to be proactive, vigilant and follow certain guidelines recommended by the CDC and local public health officials to ensure public safety. H1N1 is an alpha virus, not seen before, and thus the need for precautions such as limiting personal contact. Unlike other flu viruses, this virus seems to predominately affect young, healthy adults — a significant proportion of this University’s population. Information concerning the virus, how it is spread and its impact continues to evolve and change daily.
UW Oshkosh’s initial decision to discourage handshakes was made in consultation with public health officials and based on recommendations from the CDC. It was meant to prevent the spread of the virus to graduates and their families and friends. The H1N1 virus can remain alive on hands for up two hours. Thus, one handshake has the potential to pass along a live virus, exponentially.
UW Oshkosh will continue to monitor the transmission of the H1N1 virus and public health recommendations and take additional actions, if necessary, to continue to give public health and safety the highest priority.
For more information on the virus and what you can do to take care of yourself visit: www.uwosh.edu/home/h1n1.
Congratulations to the Class of 2009.
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh continues to closely monitor developments in the international outbreak of the new H1N1 influenza virus (swine flu). The University’s Pandemic Response Team, comprised of representatives from the health center, student affairs, residence life and administration, are continually reviewing the situation to determine and put in place the necessary precautions and health best practices to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.
Guidance and Resources
While there are no reported cases of the virus on campus, the Pandemic Response Team has already implemented several precautionary steps, including the campus-wide distribution of the hygiene poster campaign; distribution of hand sanitizers to all high-traffic areas and entrances to residence halls; and residence life staff-training updates regarding proactive measures to safeguard community health.
The UW Oshkosh Student Health Center, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/swineflu_you.htm), and the Wisconsin Pandemic Flu Resource Office (http://pandemic.wisconsin.gov) advise the following everyday steps to protect your health:
1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are spread that way.
4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Stay home if you are sick for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
Although a virus such as the H1N1 influenza continues to spread rapidly, the mortality rate is currently very low, similar to seasonal influenza. If you get symptoms of influenza (fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea), stay home from work or school except to seek medical care, and limit your contact with others. If you are feeling ill, you are encouraged to coordinate arrangements with your supervisor and/or professor to remain at home, seek medical assistance and limit contact with others to help reduce further transmissions.
Any changes to University operations will be sent to the campus community via e-mail, posted on the University’s Web site (www.uwosh.edu/home/h1n1), distributed via the media and sent out via the TitanAlerts text messaging system. To register for TitanAlert, visit www.uwosh.edu/home/titanalert.
The decision as to whether or not close public institutions rests with local health authorities.
Major Events (Commencement)
The University administration will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and its impact on hosting large-scale events. UW Oshkosh’s Commencement, scheduled for Saturday, May 16, will take place in Kolf Sports Center as scheduled. The University will continue to stay in contact with public health authorities and will continue to proactively monitor the situation and provide updates.
There are a number of factors, however, to consider, with any event that draws a large crowd with regard to public health and the transmission of a virus such as the H1N1 influenza virus.
Numerous factors are considered when determining whether to host the event indoors versus outdoors. In the case of the HINI influenza, state public health officials have said there is no appreciable value in moving the event outdoors.
Several precautionary health measures are being implemented, including the availability of hand sanitizers at all entrances and a medical station, staffed with health and emergency medical staff. Additionally, those who are demonstrating symptoms are asked to avoid attending the event.
While it is natural to celebrate during Commencement with the time-honored tradition of hand-shaking and congratulatory hugs, the University is advising that such expressions of celebration not be shared this year.
It is natural for some members of the campus community to experience an increase in anxiety during situations like this. Proactively planning for emergencies is always a good idea. To find out how you can prepare, visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/planning. There also are campus resources available to assist:
Student Health Center: www.uwosh.edu/health_center
Student Counseling Center: www.uwosh.edu/couns_center
Employee Assistance Program: www.uwosh.edu/eap
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide the campus community with updates. For updated information, visit www.uwosh.edu/home/h1n1.