Precautions being taken for swine flu

by Amber Cox

Anyone with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, or fatigue, should seek the appropriate medical care, according to the Health Center.

However, students should know that there are no known or suspected cases of the new  strain of influenza, the swine flu, on Rider’s campuses.

As of Thursday, April 30, there are seven probable cases of swine flu in New Jersey. The counties the cases are in are unidentified. The United States as a whole has confirmed 106 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site.

As of Wednesday, April 29, one death has been reported. A toddler boy in Texas contracted the virus during a trip from Mexico to Texas. Most cases that have been reported are relatively mild and treatable with antiviral medicines.

The swine flu is a virus subtype H1N1.  It is the combination of one strain of human influenza, one strain of avian influenza and two separate strains of swine influenza.

According to the CDC, about 36,000 people die each year from flu-related sicknesses in the United States.

The CDC wants people to know that most people in the United States will not have immunity against the virus. Because of this, the virus is expected to spread and more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths are expected in the coming days and weeks.

In a written statement, James Newman, chief medical officer of Christiana Care, a non-profit, privately owned care system of two hospitals in Delaware, said that it is a normal time of year for standard flu strains, and those with symptoms should not jump to the conclusion that they have contracted the swine flu virus.

The university Health Center is working closely with the Lawrence Township Health Department and New Jersey state health officials to monitor any information and recommendations about the treatment of swine flu.

The World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert to a phase 5 on Wednesday, April 29.

According to the CDC Web site, a phase 5 alert is a “strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.”

The Health Center is asking everyone to take the appropriate precautions.

Students are urged to avoid contact with people who are ill and stay at home when they feel sick. Also, they are asked to wash their hands often and use an alcohol-based hand cleaner. It will also be effective to cough or sneeze into a tissue and avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.

The Health Center will continue to keep the university posted about any developments. The center is also following plans that have been previously developed for such a situation.

An e-mail sent to students, faculty and staff stated that those students who think they are experiencing symptoms are urged to contact Student Health Services. Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact their medical provider if they feel ill. They are also urged to stay home until their doctors clear them, or they no longer have symptoms.

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