Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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May 4, 2009
MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University officials are continuing to monitor the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) and World Health Organization's responses to the recent H1N1 virus (originally called swine flu) outbreak.
There have been no reported probable/suspected cases on the WIU campuses. Beu Health Center Director Mary Margaret Harris noted that health center staff is continuing to perform routine influenza surveillance. If an individual comes to the health center with flu-like symptoms, Beu's healthcare providers will ask a series of questions as a precautionary measure to determine if the illness is perhaps related to H1N1, Harris added. WIU-Quad Cities students, faculty and staff experiencing flu-like symptoms should see their local physician or healthcare provider immediately.
While Beu currently has the H1N1 tests available, individuals will only be tested if they exhibit symptoms of the virus. Seasonal flu symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Reported H1N1 symptoms may also include runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
"It is important for individuals to realize that testing for the flu virus, including H1N1, is a public health surveillance tool, which allows the CDC to monitor how fast and where the virus is spreading. It is not a diagnostic tool. We will only perform the test if someone has symptoms related to the H1N1 virus," stated Dr. Richard Iverson, Beu Health Center medical director. "We treat patients based on symptoms and clinical history. For most people with the flu, including H1N1, that means staying home, resting, drinking plenty of fluids and taking a non-aspirin product to relieve fever and pain."
According to Harris, flu viruses are spread mainly from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. To limit the spread of illnesses, including H1N1, people need to practice common sense, which includes proper handwashing after using the bathroom, before eating and after coughing or sneezing, Harris added. Use soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available), scrub and rinse for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly.
As a precautionary measure, Western's Physical Plant staff have implemented additional disinfecting measures, including thorough cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, handrails and other commonly used/shared areas, said Jackie Thompson, vice president of administrative services.
"The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our first priority. We determined that more in-depth disinfection of commonly-shared surfaces was a necessary precaution and one we could easily put into place," Thompson added.
For more information on the H1N1 virus, contact Beu Health Center at (309) 298-1888.
Posted By: Darcie Shinberger, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606