Date: April 28, 2009
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, firstname.lastname@example.org
PNC, Purdue University Monitors Swine Flu, Issues Precautions
WESTVILLE Purdue University North Central and Purdue University officials are urging faculty, staff and students to take precautions against the spread of the highly communicable swine flu.
The Purdue University pandemic preparedness committee, created during the avian flu alert in 2006, convened in West Lafayette to address the potential threat.
At PNC, campus officials are monitoring the situation closely and are ready to take action should the need arise.
"In 2006, we convened a campus-wide meeting to discuss our preparedness for an outbreak as this," said PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. We Included the LaPorte County Health Department in that meeting to ensure we were as well versed as possible in planning for, and reacting to, an outbreak such as this. We will take every precaution possible to preserve the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and campus guests.
Although the disease has been blamed for deaths in Mexico, the severity varies within Mexico and is currently less severe outside Mexico . This could indicate that there is more than one strain of the virus, said James Westman, co-chair of the Purdue University pandemic preparedness committee and director of the Purdue student health center.
As with most viruses, flu is spread in several ways: orally, by ingestion, by inhalation, or by splashing contamination on abraded skin or into puncture wounds. To prevent spread, Westman said:
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Cough into your sleeve or a tissue to avoid spreading germs. Do not cough into your hands.
Put tissue in a wastebasket.
Wash your hands with soap under warm running water for 20 seconds and rinse hands well. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use the paper towel to turn off the faucet and turn the knob on the door handle.
Cook pork and fowl to 180 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure you have killed bacteria and viruses.
Avoid contact with people who are ill.
If you are ill with flulike symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat and body aches, stay home. If symptoms worsen, contact your health-care provider.
The incubation period for the flu is normally 24-48 hours, and the contagious period lasts for seven days after the onset of symptoms. If you are a student and contract this strain of flu, alert your professor that you will be absent for that period and provide a medical release upon returning.
Basic flu symptoms include fever, cough/sore throat, fatigue and body aches.
Symptoms calling for action vary by age. For infants and children, look for:
Fast or troubled breathing
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking or interacting
Being so irritable that the child doesn't want to be held
Flulike symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worse cough
Fever with a rash
For adults, look for:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in chest or abdomen
Severe or persistent vomiting
PNC updates will be posted on its home page, http://www.pnc.edu and any alerts will also be sent via text message to those who have signed up for that PNC service.
The Purdue University pandemic plan is available at http://www.purdue.edu/emergency_preparedness/index.htm.
Related information is at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/mitigation.htm .