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2009 H1N1 influenza update

6/18/2009

As I’m sure you’ve been hearing in the news, spread of the novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu) is increasingly common and occurring throughout Minnesota. I thought it would be a good time to provide you with an update.

Currently all patients in Minnesota with flu symptoms such as fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms are considered likely to have the H1N1 novel influenza virus. The Minnesota Department of Health is now only conducting diagnostic testing on severe, hospitalized cases of possible influenza.

Given the increasing spread of H1N1, this is a good time to be reminded of the following:

  • If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, you should stay home. You will be considered infectious for 7 days after the onset of symptoms or 24 hours after you are symptom-free, whichever is longer.
  • Use excellent hand washing techniques and cover your cough. It is our best first line of defense against the spread of influenza.
  • If you are pregnant, immune-suppressed or have a chronic health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma or emphysema, you are at increased risk for severe flu or flu complications. You should contact your health care provider if you have flu symptoms or have been exposed to people with flu symptoms.
  • Keep hard surfaces such as workstations, door handles and bathroom surfaces clean using household disinfectant.

The following links can also help answer any questions you may have:

Sincerely,

John Finnegan, Assistant Vice President for Public Health and Dean of the School of Public Health

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Spring 2009 Message Archive

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