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April 27 Message to the Campus Community About Swine Flu

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The following message was sent to members of the Southwestern community April 27 by Dinorah Martinez-Anderson, director of health services

News reports of outbreaks of swine flu in Mexico, California, Texas and several other states have raised concerns about possible pandemic flu. Although Williamson County does not have any confirmed cases, we write to share more information about the situation.

Flu vaccines administered in fall 2008 and winter 2009 do not protect against swine flu, and there is not a human vaccine for the illness at this time.

Because of their population density, university communities are susceptible to the spread of illness. We ask you to be more conscious of your health habits in the coming weeks. Wash or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands frequently, especially before eating, and cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze.

Keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose. Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away. If you cough or sneeze into your hands, wash them immediately.  Do not come to work or class if you have any of the following symptoms:

*   a sudden fever >100° F
*   coughing
*   body aches and pains

People who have swine flu may also experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and/or a runny nose and sore throat. This flu is responding to antivirals like Tamiflu and Relenza.  The majority of the patients with this flu have reported that the symptoms are mild and they have recovered fully.

Students with any of these symptoms should call the Health Services at 512-863-1555. Guidance will be given about whether further evaluation of symptoms is necessary. Faculty and staff should call their personal healthcare providers.

Southwestern University is working with city, county and state health authorities on this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation here in the United States and in Mexico. If you would like more information about swine flu, please visit  http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/key_facts.html.