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2009 H1N1 influenza update

May 20, 2009

Over the past few weeks, much has been learned about the cases of H1N1 novel influenza. This virus currently appears to be acting like seasonal influenza in terms of the severity of illness and the transmission of infection.

Public Health experts acknowledge, however, that influenza viruses are unpredictable and can change their infection and severity pattern over time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that we remain vigilant due to this unpredictability. The CDC also acknowledges the possibility of a "second wave" of transmission in the fall.

Below are updates specific to our campus

Travel

  • On May 15th, the CDC revised their travel alert to Mexico. In light of this change:
    • the University is no longer advising students, staff and faculty against nonessential travel to Mexico.
    • the Education Abroad Suspension Committee (EASC) has removed the system-wide ban on student travel to Mexico.

H1N1 within our community

  • The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) assumes that there is spread of the H1N1 virus within the state of Minnesota and the Twin Cities. It is no longer testing for H1N1 in persons with flu-like symptoms unless hospitalization has occurred.
  • Because transmission of the H1N1 influenza virus appears to be occurring widely, MDH recommends that persons use good hand washing techniques and respiratory etiquette to stay healthy during this extended influenza season.
  • Persons with influenza-like illnesses (fever of 100 degrees F or greater, and recent onset of cough or sore throat) should stay home for seven days after the onset of illness or at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer.
  • Those in close contact with H1N1 cases and who have an underlying condition placing them at high risk for complications from influenza should be evaluated by a health care provider. The health care provider who is providing care for the H1N1 patient is in the best position to review the need-to-notify close contacts.

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University of Minnesota Pandemic Influenza Response Plan (332 K pdf)