WSU Tri-Cities

Bulletins

WSU Flu facts and podcast links

WSU MONITORING THE 2009 H1N1 FLU OUTBREAK

5/28/09 Update
County Health Department, WSU Report First H1N1 Influenza Case

The Whitman County Health Department and Washington State University Health and Wellness Services announced today the first officially confirmed case of H1N1 (Swine origin) Influenza in a Whitman County resident. The infection was identified in a 19-year-old Washington State University student who became ill on May 19.

He was evaluated in WSU’s Health and Wellness Service on May 21 where initial screening showed infection with a Type A Influenza virus. Samples were obtained for further testing at the State of Washington Public Health Laboratory. Testing at the State Lab confirmed the presence of H1N1 Influenza A virus on May 27.

The infected student, who lives off campus, was placed in isolation when H1N1 Influenza was suspected. He was also treated with antiviral medication and has made a complete recovery without complications. No secondary cases have been identified at this time.

“Health and Wellness Services at Washington State University did a wonderful job in this case,” said Dr. Timothy Moody, health officer for the Whitman County Health Department. “Not only did they identify and treat this student in an appropriate and rapid fashion, but took additional steps to prevent further spread of infection in the WSU community.”

“This news should be a reminder to our students, faculty and staff to be on the lookout for H1N1 Influenza and to quickly report potential cases. Prompt treatment and isolation are important in limiting the severity of cases and the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Bruce Wright, director of WSU Health and Wellness Services.

H1N1 Influenza, also previously called Swine Flu, is a novel influenza virus that has spread across the U.S. and around the world since its initial appearance the middle of last month. The Centers for Disease Control now reports more than 7,900 confirmed cases and 11 total deaths in the US due to H1N1 Influenza. In Washington State, more than 570 H1N1 cases have been confirmed.

“The take home message here is that H1N1 Influenza virus is definitely circulating in our community,” said Moody. “This just happens to be our first laboratory confirmed case.”

“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the strategy to prevent the spread of H1N1 infection remains the same as it has been since the beginning of this outbreak,” said Moody. “Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes or mouth. Cover your cough with your sleeve or a tissue. Don’t share items you put in your mouth such as eating utensils, drinking cups or smoking materials. Stay away from school, work or crowds if you are sick with symptoms compatible with the flu, such as fever and cough. And call your health care provider first if you need medical care or evaluation for flu-like illness rather than sitting in office waiting rooms.”

The Whitman County Health Department has distributed antiviral medications from the U.S. national stockpile to area hospitals and pharmacies. These medications are available to medical providers and to patients identified with H1N1 influenza. Additionally, the Whitman County Health Department continues to keep health care providers informed regarding identification and reporting of illness related to H1N1 Influenza, treatment of infection, and procedures to limit further spread.

“It is too early to predict exactly what will happen with H1N1 Influenza into the future,” said Moody. “However, it is clear this new influenza virus is already here and will continue circulate in the population. Only time and experience will tell if H1N1 Influenza is potentially more serious than seasonal influenza. It is important that everyone continues to be aware of H1N1 and treat this new virus with respect.”

The Washington State Department of Health has reported there are 574 CONFIRMED cases of the 2009 H1N1 flu in the state. The State Department of Health reports one person has died from complications associated with the H1N1 flu in the state. Confirmed cases have now been found in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Snohomish, King, Pierce, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Mason, Thurston, Clark, Lewis, Kititas, Yakima, Douglas, Spokane and Whitman counties. There has been one confirmed case at the WSU Pullman campus (see above) but no other reported cases at any of the other WSU campuses or facilities, statewide. The WSU Pandemic/Contagious Disease Group continues to monitor the national and international outbreak of the 2009 H1N1 flu and any possible affects this outbreak could have on WSU. Please note the 2009 H1N1 flu , although of swine origins is not caused by eating pork or pork products that have been properly cooked. All of the cases of 2009 H1N1 in the United States have been transmitted by human to human contact.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES
The university community is advised to be aware of the symptoms of the flu. This is especially important to those who have traveled to the high risk areas of Mexico or areas in the United States or overseas where the 2009 H1N1 flu has been confirmed in the last seven days or has been in close contact with people who have traveled to these areas in the last seven days. The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 in people are similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the 2009 H1N1 flu. Like seasonal flu, 2009 H1N1 flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions and if you have any of these symptoms you should contact your healthcare provider.

The university community is reminded of these tips to prevent disease transmission:
• 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 hands cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people:
• Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
• If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.


Update May 18, 2009:

2009 H1N1 FLU SITUATION REPORT

The Washington State Department of Health has reported there are now 361 CONFIRMED cases of the 2009 H1N1 flu in the state. The State Department of Health reports one person has died from complications associated with the H1N1 flu in the state. Confirmed cases have now been found in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Snohomish, King, Pierce, Thurston, Clark, Lewis, Yakima, Douglas and Spokane counties. The possible case previously reported at the Vancouver campus has proven to NOT be H1N1 flu. There are no reported cases now at any of the WSU campuses or facilities, statewide. The WSU Pandemic/Contagious Disease Group continues to monitor the national and international outbreak of the 2009 H1N1 flu and any possible affects this outbreak could have on WSU. Please note the 2009 H1N1 flu , although of swine origins is not caused by eating pork or pork products that have been properly cooked. All of the cases of 2009 H1N1 in the United States have been transmitted by human to human contact.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES
The university community is advised to be aware of the symptoms of the flu. This is especially important to those who have traveled to the high risk areas of Mexico or areas in the United States or overseas where the 2009 H1N1 flu has been confirmed in the last seven days or has been in close contact with people who have traveled to these areas in the last seven days. The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 in people are similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the 2009 H1N1 flu. Like seasonal flu, 2009 H1N1 flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions and if you have any of these symptoms you should contact your healthcare provider.

The university community is reminded of these tips to prevent disease transmission:
• 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 hands cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people:
• Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
• If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.


Update May 1, 2009:

WSU Advisory

Dear Students, Families, and Friends of WSU:
With graduation day approaching very quickly, WSU would like to remind you that our students come from all around the world.  This means the graduation ceremonies for WSU Tri-Cities on May 15 and WSU Vancouver on May 16 will be attended by visitors from many countries.

At this time, a number of countries, including the United States, are experiencing an outbreak of the 2009 H1N1 influenza, commonly called Swine flu.  While no cases have been reported on campus, there is a possibility that someone visiting for graduation could bring with them the virus that causes Swine Flu.

WSU officials, in conjunction with local Public Health Authorities, welcome visitors to the Pullman campus but ask them to observe the following precautions:

  • If you are ill with a respiratory condition that includes fever and a cough, do not attend the graduation ceremony or other gatherings with crowds.  Please stay home if you are ill.
  • Cover your cough with your sleeve or a tissue.  Dispose of the tissue immediately in a trash receptacle.  To learn more, view a brief video at here.
  • Wash your hands frequently.  When soap and water is not available, carry a waterless, alcohol-based hand cleanser.  Use it often.
  • Avoid touching your hands to your mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • Shaking hands is a common custom for greeting and congratulating friends and family.  However, this practice spreads germs.  It is actually safer to give a hug.
  • Medically fragile populations, such as those with chronic diseases or the elderly, may want to avoid crowds to limit their potential for exposure to viral illnesses and the flu.

For those unable to attend WSU Pullman’s graduation ceremony in person, each of the three ceremonies will be video-streamed live at http://www.experience.wsu.edu/.  The Spokane, Vancouver, and Tri-Cities graduation ceremonies will not be video-streamed.

We encourage you to share all of this information with others coming for Commencement.  To keep updated on the progression of this flu, visit alert.wsu.edu/ or doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/Flu/Pandemicflu/H1N1Flu.aspx.

We hope everyone has a joyous, and safe, graduation.


Update: April 30, 2009

Higher Ed Flu map

Update: April 29, 2009
While there was a death in the U.S., it was a Mexican national from Mexico City who had come up to Texas with family and had finally been taken to the hospital after several days of being ill.

Education Abroad

Here is a concise summary of the steps Education Abroad is taking to inform students about WSU’s response to the Swine Flu Outbreak.

1. The one WSU student in Mexico currently on an ISA program has been told to return home by ISA. I have emailed her to notify her that WSU strongly encourages her to follow ISA’s recommendation, and am waiting for her response. The student may be impacted financially, but I’m sure ISA will try to minimize and loss to the student. WSU will not be impacted financially.

2. The nine WSU students studying abroad in Mexico through providers this summer and fall, have been notified that WSU will not allow them to go abroad until the Travel Health Warning has been lifted. They have been encouraged to contact their provider to see about refunds and/or the possibility of delaying their participation until the Travel Health Warning has been lifted. They have been told that WSU will not release Financial Aid for study in Mexico until the Travel Health Warning is lifted. If these students have to cancel, they may be impacted from a financial standpoint. WSU will not be impacted financially.

3. Education Abroad has worked with the faculty organizers of our two faculty-led programs to Mexico that were scheduled in Mexico for mid-May to mid-June and the travel agent and university working with us in Mexico. Our Mexican partners can wait until May 4 to hear if we are offering the program, so we have notify the 16 students that we will make a determination on May 4 as to whether the program can proceed:
a.       If the CDC’s Travel Health Warning has been lifted, we can offer the program.
b.      If the CCS’s Travel Health Warning is still in effect, we will cancel the program.
c.       Students on one program will not be impacted financially. Students on the CB’s program may lose all or part of the money spent for their airline ticket.
d.      The financial impact to WSU / Education Abroad will be minimal.

4. The other 305 students studying abroad this summer or fall in locations other than Mexico will be contacted with an explanation of WSU’s response to the Swine Flu outbreak. WSU will prohibit study abroad participation in any country to which the CDC places a Travel Health Warning until the Travel Health Warning is lifted. WSU would not release Financial Aid to students for study in such a country, although it is too early to know how this outbreak will play out. Don’t panic!

5. Education Abroad will work with Business Affairs this summer to build information on this policy into our application materials (participation agreement, liability form, etc.) so that we can adopt a proactive stance to any future Travel Health Warnings in the event of an outbreak or pandemic.

Candace Chenoweth
Director, WSU Education Abroad
chenow@wsu.edu
509-335-6920
www.ip.wsu.edu/education_abroad

April 28, 2009

No cases of swine flu have been detected in Washington state, according to a press release by the state's Department of Health, and the risk of exposure is currently low. WSU Tri-Cities is cooperating with Benton-Franklin Health District to help disseminate Swine Flu information in our area. Flu facts and podcast link

Federal Health Officials are investigating a number of cases of a new strain of swine flu. This new strain of influenza appears to have developed from an influenza virus found in swine (pigs).  The outbreak appears to have begun in Mexico and spread through travelers. While newly identified, this influenza strain is similar to and should be treated as any other. Please consider the following.

Early detection, treatment, and isolation are important to protect your health and prevent the spread of disease. Persons who are most at risk are:

  • Those who have recently traveled to or moved from affected areas in California, Kansas, Texas, or Mexico
  • Those who have had close contact with someone who has been in those areas within seven days of the onset of illness; or
  • Have influenza-like-illness with pneumonia rapidly progressing to respiratory failure
  • Influenza-like-illness (ILI) symptoms
    • Fever >100F or 37.8C
    • Cough and/or
    • Sore throat

If you experience these symptoms you should seek medical attention as soon as possible and avoid contact with others.  If you know anyone who is experiencing these symptoms please encourage them to seek medical attention.

Steps you can take to prevent the spread of influenz

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Stay home if you begin feeling ill or experiencing flu symptoms
  • Seek medical attention if you experience flu symptoms
2710 Crimson Way, Washington State University Tri-Cities, Richland, WA 99354-1671, 509-372-7163, Contact Us